What does it mean to be Serving Seniors? Since 1970, Serving Seniors
(formerly Senior Community Centers) has been providing nutritious
meals through the Older Americans Act starting with one congregate
meal site. Today there are 10 congregate meal sites that provide over
500,000 meals a year to some of San Diego’s most vulnerable seniors.
Serving Seniors also provides meals to home bound seniors through the
Home Delivered Meals Program. Ninety percent of the seniors served
live at or below the Federal Poverty level. The FPL is an antiquated
measurement of poverty that assumes people spend 30% of their income
on housing. For the majority of seniors who participate in the meal
program, their income is less than $900/month of which 75 percent is
spent on housing. Many are left with less than $200/month for food,
transportation, medications and other medical expenses. These
challenges impact tens of thousands of seniors in San Diego County,
many of whom are the hidden hungry and socially isolated.
Serving Seniors provides help and support to seniors struggling to make ends meet through its network of community partners providing supportive services that help low-income seniors remain independent in their community. Serving Seniors provides and coordinates social services, housing assistance, health education and referrals and mental health services at their Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center. Serving Seniors also offers classes in Life Long Learning, Civic Engagement and Advocacy. Decade-long collaborations with University of California San Diego, San Diego State University, Sharp Health Care, Elder Law & Advocacy and over 20 other organizations and agencies have helped make Serving Seniors a model of senior care for the entire nation.
"Being responsive to seniors’ needs has resulted in saving lives," says Mary Mazyck, RN, Vice President of Programs and Services for Serving Seniors.
The lack of affordable senior housing is the primary reason that seniors run into difficulty. Serving Seniors has had a Homeless Prevention Program for almost 15 years. Social service staff are able to assist homeless seniors obtain housing. They work closely with the San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team and the San Diego Housing Commission. In addition, Serving Seniors owns 350 units of permanent supportive housing for seniors ages 62 and older. Potiker Family Senior Residence is located in East Village and has 200 units of furnished apartments, and Potiker City Heights Residence has 150 units of unfurnished apartments. The on-site supportive services provide safety net services that further help residents maintain stable housing and delay institutionalization.
If you know a senior in need and/or at risk, please be sure to find out if they have a family or good friends that provide a reliable safety net. Serving Seniors is a non- profit 501(C)3 that assists seniors who are 60 and over and is available to make referrals and answer questions that may help a senior remain independent in his or her home for as long as possible.
To help make a difference in a senior’s life, please go to www.servingseniors.org for more information.