Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight


By Judy Goddess

Seniors are among California’s fastest growing population. Currently, 10 percent of Californians are seniors; by 2030, that percentage is expected to almost double to 19 percent. How can we create a future that guarantees that every senior lives with the dignity and independence we all deserve? That’s the challenge California Gov. Gavin Newsom laid down in his first State of the Union address last winter.Senior Spotlight logo

In late September, over 1,000 seniors, people with disabilities and advocates responded when they came out to listen to a panel of experts and elected officials – including SF supervisors Norman Yee and Sandra Lee Fewer, Assembly Member David Chiu and State Senator Scott Weiner – discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the state.

The panelists raised various issues: the lack of trained home healthcare workers; senior homelessness; isolation and loneliness; and the cost of medical care. Supervisor Yee introduced his plan to create 300 units of residential and assisted living facilities on the Laguna Honda campus, while Supervisor Fewer talked about her plan to build a senior playground in the Richmond District where seniors can develop friendships while exercising. But it was Fewer’s remark that what she really wants out of the Plan is “a shitload of money,” that brought down the house.

Now it is our turn to offer suggestions. Send your ideas and recommendations for making California more hospitable to seniors to hashtag #BePartofPlan, or to the Dignity Fund Coalition (a co-sponsor of the September event),


Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. While some risk facts are not modifiable, 50 percent of all strokes are preventable. The Community Living Campaign is offering a series of three free workshops on stroke prevention, recovery and the impact of a stroke on the brain.

Arete Nichols (R.N., M.A. in Geriatric Care Management) will facilitate the first two sessions on the modifiable risk factors for stroke, the symptoms of stroke and the importance of calling 911 when you think someone might be having a stroke.

The third session will be led by UCSF’s Dr. Serggio Lanata (M.D., neurologist and co-director of UCSF’s Memory and Aging Center’s community outreach program). Dr. Lanata will discuss the clinical manifestation of different types of strokes, what happens in the brain when someone has a stroke and how to mitigate the consequences of stroke on brain health.

Each presentation will leave time for questions.

All three sessions will be held in the community hall at St. Anne of the Sunset, on Funston between Irving and Judah streets. Sessions 1 meets Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.; session 2 on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at 2:30 p.m. and session 3 on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Patti Spaniak Davidson at (415) 821-1003 x106 or email


Seniors can save on their property taxes, but they need to know how. At the Nov. 14 meeting of Senior Power, a group of Outer Sunset seniors, Nicole Abagnani from Assessor Carmen Chu’s office will discuss property tax savings for seniors. Abagnani will be joined by an official from the U.S. Census Office, who will talk about the importance of the upcoming census and employment opportunities with the census.

Their presentations will be followed by a meditation exercise and light refreshments.

Seniors Power meets on the third Thursday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Taraval Police Station, 2343 24thAve. All meetings are free and translation services are available (Cantonese/English). For further information, visit or contact Margaret Graf or (415) 652-4751.


San Francisco residents who don’t have a functioning smoke alarm may want to take advantage of this offer by the SF Red Cross. Robert Berger, Sound the Alarm coordinator of the SF American Red Cross wants SF residents to know that they will provide and install smoke alarms. These are 10-year alarms that do not require battery replacement and are easy to test and shut off.

“While one volunteer installs the smoke alarm, the other volunteer educates the resident about fire safety,” Berger said. “We want residents to feel safe when we come into their homes, so all volunteers will wear Red Cross clothing.”

Appointments are usually scheduled for a Friday or Saturday. Berger is currently scheduling appointments two to seven weeks out.

San Francisco residents should contact Robert Berger for more information or to schedule an installation: (415) 427-8153.

Judy Goddess is a reporter with SF Senior Beat. For more information, please visit or contact Judy at (415) 759-1994 or by email at

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