San Bernardino - The senior population is growing in San Bernardino County and now, more than ever, identifying and solving issues they face is important to ensuring a respectable quality of life for them. Due to seniors being most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic, Assemblymember Eloise Reyes coordinated an effort to provide seniors with resources they need. Committed to this task, Assemblymember Reyes held her 4th Annual Senior Advocacy Week from October 5th to the 9th; visiting 12 senior facilities.
Partnering on the Senior Advocacy Week was UNITEEE, The Holy Land Church, California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, Autism Society, and IEHP. Through this collaboration over 1200 seniors were provided with Person Protective Equipment (PPE) including face-masks, N95 masks, hand sanitizer, face shields, and brochures with local and state resources for seniors. A senior from one of our visits stated, “the items were very nice and came in so handy especially the hand sanitizers and the box of 50 individual masks.”
The mission of Senior Advocacy Week is to listen to the issues that are impacting seniors. For too long seniors have been without a voice in Sacramento and the Inland Empire. With over 200,000 seniors in San Bernardino County, they cannot be ignored any longer. Since being elected in 2016, Assemblymember Reyes has given seniors a voice to share policies that impact their quality of life, including income, lack of public transportation, unnecessary fees, lack of community spaces, and affordable housing.
Senior Advocacy Week concluded with the Seniors Scam Stopper Town Hall with the California Department of Insurance (CDI) and the Department of Aging and Adult Services, where seniors were informed on how to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams. During the Seniors Scam Stopper Townhall, Peter Meza, a CDI expert stated that, “about 70 percent of the wealth in the U.S. is within the senior citizen community which makes them a big target for scams involving unsuitable life insurance policies and annuities.” He further stated that, “there was an 85-year-old senior who was put into a life insurance plan that was not going to pay out for 20 years, so they would not begin to collect till they are 105 years old.” Stacey Hernández from the San Bernardino County Department of Aging and Adult Services stressed the importance of not responding to unrecognized phone calls, text messages, and emails. She additionally advised that, “if you happen to be speaking with someone who seems legitimate and they insist on payment for the service they offer to be in the form of gift cards, money transfer, or cryptocurrency, then it is most likely a scam.”
“I believe senior advocacy week has become something that our seniors look forward to each year. Our office knows that San Bernardino communities have different issues that have to be addressed, which why it is so important that we continue to talk to our seniors and ask them what they need. With that information we can continue to offer the services our seniors need and remain responsive to the other issues they may face,” said Assemblymember Reyes.
Senior Advocacy Week allows Assemblymember Reyes to gain insight into the issues that are impacting seniors in the Inland Empire and to find public policy solutions to address them. Call our office at (909) 381-3238 for further details.