By 2030, about one in five Californians will be age 65 or older, and improving the quality of life for all Bay Area seniors requires protecting those most vulnerable. Members of the Bay Area Senior Health Policy Coalition share this imperative. The need for health and supportive services that contribute to a senior's health and well-being is a growing need among California’s aging population. We have taken action to build our infrastructure and strengthen the safety-net by joining together and developing innovative ideas on how to address these challenging issues.
Since the Bay Area PACE (Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly) organizations launched the Bay Area Senior Health Policy Coalition in 2009, we have come together to find creative ideas to strengthen the safety-net for senior services. The coalition has provided an organized approach to collaborate and build common ground among care providers, advocates, and policymakers.
The Bay Area Senior Health Policy Coalition has held five successful and well-attended Senior Health Policy Forums, hosted by Bay Area’s PACE providers Centers for Elders’ Independence and On Lok. You can learn more about our previous forums under the “Past Forums” section of our website.
The first forum was on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California and focused on issues around strengthening the safety-net for seniors in the Bay Area. State Senator Loni Hancock served as our Keynote Speaker and featured sessions focused on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Planning; Bridging Silos in the Continuum of Care; State and Federal Policy Changes Affecting Bay Area Seniors; and Promoting Aging-In-Place through Housing and Service Options.
The second forum was held on November 30, 2011 in San Francisco, California. In response to recent dramatic cuts in programs and supports for California seniors and the need for stakeholders to work together to protect these vital services, this event had two goals: 1) To inspire attending stakeholders to continue to work effectively together; and 2) To achieve the forum mission of strengthening and protecting the broader safety-net for Bay Area seniors. In the afternoon, attendees participated in five concurrent workshops: Engaging our Stakeholders in Policy Change; Federal and State Strategies to Reform Healthcare Financing and Delivery; New Approaches to Senior Housing with Services; Connecting Your Community through Social Media; and Innovative Partnerships – Local Responses to the Changing Environment.
The third forum was held on February 20, 2014 in South San Francisco, CA. The theme for this forum was “Local Innovations Amid a Changing Health Reform Environment,” and explored new innovations and collaborations between partners to address a stronger future for seniors in the face of current challenges. This forum featured a plenary session with key leaders discussing various partnerships underway in the areas of housing, technology, creating age-friendly cities and ways that health care providers are connecting to social services in the community. In the afternoon, attendees participated in four concurrent workshops: Housing and Supportive Services; Advocacy Perspectives: Voices from Local Advocates and Legislative Staff; Promising Practices in Preparing for Health Reform: View from Ground Zero; and Leveraging Technology.
The fourth forum was held on December 3, 2015 in Oakland, California. The theme of this forum was "Bridging the Aging Service Gap: An Economic Imperative." This forum built upon the successes and collaborations at our previous forums, and explored issues around affordable housing, LTSS financing, aging in place, housing with services, innovations within LTSS and palliative care. We also hosted dynamic plenary sessions during which we heard from state legislators and local leaders on how to create meaningful change in the fields of aging and health care. Our Keynote Speaker was Mr. David Saÿen, CMS Regional Administrator and attendees participated in the following diverse afternoon workshops: Creating and Maintaining Affordable Housing for Seniors; LTSS Financing for the Middle Class: Searching for Solutions; Leveraging Community to Enable Individuals to Age in Place; Housing Meet Services, Services Meet Housing: How Do We Make This Relationship Work?; Building Capacity for the Future: Innovations Within LTSS; and Initiatives to Improve Access to Quality Palliative Care.
The fifth forum was held on December 6, 2017 in South San Francisco, CA. The theme for this forum was "Reframing Aging" and challenged attendees to look at local aging issues through the lens of what we need to do in order to create meaningful programs for the Bay Area's aging population. Our keynote speaker was Dr. E. Percil Stanford, a leading author and advocate, and we had an in-depth discussion with Assemblymember Ash Kalra regarding how to improve advocacy efforts, current initiatives underway in the state, and his vision for statewide programs to care for our elders. For the afternoon sessions, attendees selected one "track" to focus on for the day: 1) Setting the Stage and Creating Age-Friendly Solutions, 2) Innovative Affordable Housing Models and the Policy Solutions, and 3) Addressing the Unique Needs of the Aging Homeless Population. Each of these breakout sessions included presentations from experts in the field to provide a deep dive into the issue (part 1) and then a discussion about the policy solutions and opportunities for partnerships (part 2). The day concluded with a moderated discussion among our breakout session moderators led by our morning keynote, Dr. Stanford, about what the key discussions were for each topic and what solutions were discussed.
Our vision is to forge and strengthen relationships across programs and geography and find a common voice as Bay Area senior safety-net providers and advocates. Our shared goal is:
To Inspire, Exchange, Educate, and Engage Advocates, Providers, Policymakers, and Other Stakeholders in Our Effort to Strengthen the Safety-Net for Bay Area Seniors.
Collectively, we can strengthen the health safety-net that more and more seniors are going to need in the coming years. Together we are stronger. Together we can affect change.
- Grace Li, Chief Executive Officer, On Lok and Linda Trowbridge, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Elders’ Independence