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News Report: County Senior Centers Lack Resources to Support Growing Elder Population

Photo credit: Hayne Palmour IV for the San Diego Union-Tribune

This week the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the senior center assessment conducted by the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation and interviewed President and CEO Bob Kelly on the role these centers play in supporting older adults’ wellbeing. SDSCF envisions a community’s senior center as a hub for its 60-and-over residents — a place where older adults can access programs and vital resources that address the three most important areas of their lives: their physical, mental and financial health.

As the U-T notes, San Diego County’s elder population could increase by more than 75% over the next decade. Our local senior centers are far from being ready to fully address the needs of this growing population. “We haven’t caught up yet, and we’ve got a long way to go,” Kelly said.

Reporter Bella Ross also checked in with Melinda Forstey, chief operating officer for Serving Seniors, which operates the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in downtown San Diego. She revealed that most senior center clients are low-income elders who live on their own. While many senior centers focus mainly on food services, the most beneficial thing senior centers can offer, and the thing seniors are most in search of, is socialization, says Forstey.

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