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Food Resources | Recursos Alimentarios

Because of the ongoing pandemic, access to food is even more difficult to acquire.  Here, are a few resources for seniors experiencing food insecurity.   

The Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano provides a list of resources on their website, including where to access food by city.  You can also call the Food Bank at 1-855-309-3663 to get more information regarding food pantries and soup kitchens near you.  

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The Fate of Senior Centers During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Understandably, the Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the closure (temporary, we hope) of several Contra Costa County Senior Centers & resources. Most centers are citing, “due to the social distancing recommendations issued by Contra Costa Health Services and the California Department of Public Health, centers are taking precautions in an effort to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “ At the time of this blog submission, here’s where things stand:

Antioch Senior Center

  • They have closed their space until further notice.

However, they do have links to a Virtual Rec Center on their site.

Concord Senior Center

  • Concord has closed all programs & classes until further notice.

City of Martinez – Senior Community Center

  • The center is closed however, City staff is onsite Monday-Friday from 9am-1pm to answer phones and help the senior community as needed.  Staff can be reached at 925-370-8770. Click here to access their Online Resource Center.

Pleasant Hill Senior Center

Pleasant Hill has developed “virtual” office hours with center staff. They can be contacted at 925-798-8777 on Tues, Weds, & Thurs between 9 – 12. The staff at PHSC have curated links to lots of virtual activities. Click here to view the list.

Senior Center – City of Pittsburg

  • Due to the Covid-19 the Pittsburg Senior Center will be closed to the public until further notice.

Richmond Rotary Club

Welcomes guests to their Friday 12:30 conversations via zoom.

To learn more, visit their website.

Rossmoor’s Event Center

  • All indoor events have been canceled due to Shelter-in-place restrictions.

Walnut Creek Senior Center 

Due to Contra Costa Health Services order to cease nonessential operations and gatherings in order to limit community exposure to COVID-19, all city buildings are closed until further notice. CCC still has widespread Covid cases so in person activities for seniors remain on hold. There are some virtual activities being held such as zoom bingo & trivia (see the list of virtual activities here.)  City services for seniors can be found  here.

As a result of the recommended social distancing requirements by public health officials, concerns about the mental well-being of seniors are increasing. Social isolation in the country for people over 65 was already at a dangerously high level. What happens when the most easily accessible channels for social interaction for seniors are closed?

Hopefully seniors will seek support if needed. A few recommended resources include:

  • Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line.
  • National Network of Villages – network of social clubs for older adults rooted in geographic locations offering social outlets and various activities many virtually during this time (membership-based, fees required, but many offer scholarships) Click here to find a village near you.
  • Letters Against Isolation – a nationwide letter writing campaign for isolated seniors.
  • Well Connected (previously known as Senior Center without Walls) – offers seniors access to all kinds of activities virtually via computer, tablet or over the phone.

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Disaster Planning: Wildfires 

Wildfires have become more prevalent in California within that last few years.  Fires can threaten personal safety, personal property (including homes), and health.  There are few things you can do to be prepared, stay informed and protect yourself.

1)      You can sign up for the Contra Costa County emergency alert system, called the Community Warning System. For more information about how to register to receive emergency alerts, go here.

For a full list of Contra Costa County Emergency Alerts and Resources click here.

2)      You can pack an emergency evacuation bag and make a plan about where you will go. The county website includes a residents guide to Wildfire Preparedness and Evacuation to see it go here.

3)      You can stay informed about the location of currently burning fires. For current information about where fires are burning in California, go here.

4)      Before loss occurs you can inventory your possessions of value. Here is a link to help.

An inventory of possessions can be helpful if you need to seek compensation for loss from an insurance policy.  Before loss occurs you can inventory your possessions of value. Go here for more information.

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CCSLS Legal Clinics Update

CCSLS normally provides services at Senior Centers throughout the County but due to the pandemic, access is restricted and many Senior Centers are closed.

We are therefore suspending our in-person clinics for the foreseeable future.

However, we are offering remote services to seniors who require assistance with preparing Advance Health Care Directives.  Call CCSLS at 925-609-7900 to learn how you can sign up for these free clinics.

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Recognizing Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can happen to any senior regardless of sex, race, or cultural background. In California, you can qualify as a victim of elder abuse if you are aged 65 years or older or if you are a “dependent adult”. A dependent adult is a person who is between the ages of 18 and 64 who is either (1) physically or mentally limited in their ability to carry out normal activities or to protect their rights or (2) who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility.

An estimated one in ten Americans aged 60 or older have experienced some type of elder abuse. Many of these cases go unreported, leaving the senior with no way to stop or prevent the abuse. Often, the abuser is a family member, such as an adult child. Social isolation and mental or physical disability can make a senior more vulnerable to abuse.

Different Types of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can involve a range of different types of abuse. These include:

Physical abuse: Occurs when someone causes bodily harm to an elder, such as hitting or pushing. Physical abuse may also involve restraining an elder against their will or subjecting the elder to any kind of forced or unwanted sexual interaction.

Neglect: Occurs when a senior’s caregiver fails to respond to the senior’s needs, including provision of food, clothing, hygiene, water, shelter, or medication or other health care.

Abandonment: Leaving an elder alone without ensuring that the senior will receive the care they need.

Financial abuse: Wrongfully taking or using a senior’s money or funds, property, benefits, or other assets for the benefit of a person who is not the senior.

Emotional or psychological abuse: Occurs when a person threatens, harasses, or intimidates the elder, causing the elder to feel anguish, mental pain, fear, humiliation, confusion, agitation, or distress. This can include preventing the senior from visiting or speaking with friends or family, yelling at the senior, or using hurtful words directed at the senior.

Signs of Elder Abuse

There are many warning signs that a senior may be experiencing elder abuse. These include:

  • Signs of physical injury such as bruises, broken bone or teeth, skin tears, or burns.
  • A senior becomes withdrawn, agitated, violent, confused, fearful, or defensive
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A senior no longer participates in activities they enjoy
  • An elder develops sores
  • Senior has a dirty or unsafe living condition
  • Senior receives an eviction notice or has unpaid bills despite the senior having sufficient financial resources
  • Senior lacks necessary tools needed for daily living, such as glasses, a cane, hearing aids, or medication
  • A caregiver prevents a senior from speaking for him or herself, restricts the activities of the senior, or acts with anger or indifference to the senior

What Can You do if You Experience Elder Abuse?

It is important to seek help if you believe you or a loved one is experiencing elder abuse. Seniors who have been abused face a higher risk of death or injury compared with those who are not abused. Abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and have long-lasting psychological consequences.

Persons who experience elder abuse can seek an Elder Abuse Restraining Order against their abuser. Elder Abuse Restraining Orders are a special protection mechanism for seniors and are an important way to keep an elder safe. These restraining orders can include different elements, all of which are aimed at keeping the senior safe. A restraining order can order the abuser to stay away from the senior and can include a personal conduct order, which mean that the abuser will be prohibited from engaging in certain types of abusive behavior. If necessary, restraining orders may include a kick-out order, which is an order that requires that abuser to move out of the elder’s home.

Contra Costa Senior Legal Services can help seniors in Contra Costa County who are experiencing elder abuse. We can help seniors apply for a restraining order and we can refer seniors to additional services needed to protect them. Our services are free. Call us at 925-609-7900 to learn more about how we can help seniors who are experiencing elder abuse.

As always, if you feel that you are in danger, you can call 911.

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Friendship Line

Connecting with loved ones and your community is extremely difficult especially during these tough times.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are facing more isolation and loneliness.  The Institute on Aging created the Friendship Line to lessen some of these issues that seniors face daily.  Some of the services that are offered by the Friendship Line are: providing emotional support, well-being checks, grief support, and suicide intervention.

If you want to talk to someone, do not hesitate to reach out by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-971-0016 and a trained volunteer will be able to assist you.

 

Spanish Translation-

Conexiones con la familia y la comunidad es muy difícil mantener especialmente durante esta crisis.  Por la pandemia de COVID-19, las personas mayores están más aisladas y solas.  El “Institute on Aging” ha creado la Línea de Amistad (o “The Friendship Line”) para reducir algunos de los problemas que las personas mayores enfrentan a diario.  Algunos de los servicios que la Línea de Amistad provee son: apoyo emocional, chequeos de bienestar, apoyo para el aflijo, e intervención del suicido.

Si usted quiere hablar con alguien no dude a buscar ayuda, llamando al numero gratuito 1-800-971-0016 y un voluntario entrenado va a poder ayudarle.

 

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CCSLS Celebrates PRIDE

June is Pride Month, and to honor Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) elders, we are focusing this blog post on the unique legal issues facing this population.

Progress has been made in protecting the legal rights of LGBTQ people, and the recent landmark Supreme Court decision extending protections against workplace discrimination to LGBTQ employees is another step forward.

Unfortunately, recognition of equality under the law does not alone repair the harm done to LGBTQ elders over the course of decades. The historical lack of social acceptance and legalized discrimination have had a profound impact on LGBTQ people in the areas of healthcare, economic stability, and social and family support—all of which are key areas for successful aging. For example, one of the most important financial safety nets available to older Americans is Social Security survivor benefits. Although the surviving spouse of a same-sex married couple is now allowed to collect such benefits, this is not the case for those whose same-sex partner died before this right was recognized in 2015.[1] Having been denied jobs or career advancement opportunities, many LGBTQ elders are left without savings and Social Security benefits that are adequate to meet their needs.

Additionally, while the steps forward are to be celebrated, the battle for full equality continues, and setbacks are a constant threat. The Department of Health and Human Services recently issued a regulation that rolled back protections for transgender patients against discrimination by doctors, hospitals, and health insurance companies. LGBTQ elders also face social isolation, discrimination, and abuse in nursing homes.

LGBTQ elders suffer the cumulative effects of discrimination in housing, employment, and healthcare, denial of equal financial protections, and stigma—all of which can lead to and compound economic insecurity and create unique needs for a population that remains largely invisible.

CCSLS is dedicated to recognizing the unique needs of LGBTQ elders and providing services in a supportive and understanding environment. We help our clients understand and assert their rights to protection against abuse, housing discrimination, and consumer exploitation. We also assist with advance planning through preparing Advance Health Care Directives and Durable Powers of Attorney. These documents are vital tools for ensuring that the wishes of the individual are honored in the event that they are not able to make health care or financial decisions in the future.

 

Infographic

Sources: Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen, “The Future of LGBT+ Aging: A Blueprint for Action in Services, Policies, and Research,” Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging 40, no. 2 (2016); Hyun-Jun Kim, et al., “A Collaboration for Health and Wellness: GRIOT Circle and Caring and Aging with Pride,” Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging 40, no 2 (2016); Charles A. Emlet, “Social Economic, and Health Disparities Among LGBT Older Adults,” Generations: Journal of the American Society on Aging 40, no 2 (2016).

 

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What To Do If You Haven’t Received Your Federal Stimulus Payment

As a result of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. citizens and resident aliens will receive an Economic Impact Payment (a.k.a. stimulus payment) of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married couples filing jointly. For those with higher incomes, this amount is adjusted downward or they may not be eligible. Click here to see the income thresholds.

Please note that you need to register with the IRS using the Non-Fliers Tool by October 15 if you:  

  • did not filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 because you are low-income,
  • don’t received federal benefits, and
  • have not received your stimulus payment yet.

In some cases, the stimulus payment is being made in the form of a prepaid Visa debit card. These cards come in a plain envelope from Money Network Cardholder Services, and some people have discarded it believing it to be a scam or junk mail. If you have lost or thrown away the debit card, you’ll have to call 800-240-8100 for a free replacement, according to directions at eipcard.com; unfortunately, the instructions are not clear. According to the Washington Post, “When you call, ignore the instructions to press Option 1 to reach customer service. Instead, choose Option 2 for a lost or stolen card. Then you need to select Option 1 to input the last six digits of your Social Security number as well as your Zip code. From there, you should be transferred to a person in customer service, where you have to answer some security questions before a replacement card is mailed.”  Click here for recommendations for avoiding fees associated with your stimulus payment debit card.

 

If you received an EIP Notice 1444 in the mail or a payment date from “Get My Payment” but have not received your payment, you can request a payment trace from the IRS by calling 1-800-919-9835. Unfortunately, the phone assistance line may have long wait times.

 

If your stimulus payment was deposited to your bank account but seized by a debt collector, this is not legal in California. Stimulus checks cannot be garnished, and Governor Newsom also ordered the return of any money collected prior to implementation of the rule. If your payment was wrongfully seized and not returned, contact Contra Costa Senior Legal Services for assistance.

 

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An Important Note from CCSLS

Dear Friends of Contra Costa Senior Legal Services,

Contra Costa Senior Legal Services (CCSLS) shares the intense frustration and sadness many are feeling at the senseless death of another unarmed Black citizen in the custody of the police. We mourn for George Floyd and so many like him who have lost their lives to police misconduct.

Although a large portion of our clients are minorities in need, we know we can do more to put an end to structural racism. In our upcoming 5-year strategic planning process, we pledge to undertake a close examination of meaningful actions we can initiate at the individual and organizational level to promote long overdue systemic change, including changes to promote racial equity within CCSLS.

Despite the grief and exhaustion we are all feeling at the intractability of these problems, we are hopeful that the unity shown by the national response to Mr. Floyd’s death presents a momentous opportunity to transform ourselves into a more inclusive, peaceful, and just society.

Let us commit to do everything we can to ensure we make the most of this window of opportunity to create a society that treats all with respect and dignity.

~ The Contra Costa Senior Legal Services Team

 

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Contact Us

2702 Clayton Rd.
Suite 202

Concord, CA 94519
(925) 609-7900
legalhelp@ccsls.org

Events Calendar

For our upcoming events, check out our calendar.

Our Mission

The mission of CCSLS is to protect the rights of seniors. By providing legal services, the organization is also able to mediate poverty and improve health outcomes for the population it serves. Lawyers are uniquely qualified to help identify and address legal issues that impede the ability of seniors to remain healthy and independent.