Every May for nearly 60 years, the United States has recognized the contributions of its older residents who enrich communities.
Recent data from the U.S. Census shows that over the next decade, California’s older population will grow faster than all other age groups and double by 2030. Assemblymember Janet Nguyen introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 115, which recognized May as Older Americans Month. It encourages all Californians to recognize and treat all older adults with compassion and respect and participate in activities to help support and protect them.
According to Nguyen, thousands of Californians turn 65 years of age each day; and the number of Californians older than 60 years of age is due to increase from 7,600,000 individuals to 10,800,000 individuals by the year 2050.
A report from the Public Policy Institute of California found that people of color will make up over one-half of California’s senior population by 2035, with the Latinx and Asian-Pacific Islander communities, making up the fastest-growing racial and ethnic older adult population. Women make up the majority of California’s older population.
The Biden Administration issued a proclamation last month, designating May to be Older Americans Month to honor “the tremendous impact they have made in helping build a more perfect Union”.
“Older Americans contribute their time and wisdom to make our communities stronger, more informed, and better connected. They are our loved ones, friends, mentors, essential workers, volunteers, and neighbors. We celebrate their achievements and recommit to providing our elders with the support and services they need to thrive and age with dignity,” the proclamation read.
In an effort to support older adults, Biden’s American Rescue Plan allocated $1.4 Billion to provide older adults with services for nutrition, health promotion, disease prevention, caregiver support, and long-term care. Additional Medicaid funding is provided to support millions of older adults with disabilities and to help States improve the quality of caregiving jobs.
“During Older Americans Month, let us pay tribute to the seniors who raised and guided us throughout our lives, and let us renew our commitment to honor their contributions by giving them the fullest care, support, and respect they deserve,” reads the proclamation.
The Biden administration noted that during the pandemic, many seniors came out of retirement to serve their communities in health care and education roles, filling job vacancies. Conversely, many older adults also increasingly experienced social isolation and became victims of financial abuse.
The AARP defines Elder financial exploitation expands far beyond random predatory con artists. According to the National Adult Protective Services Association, the “vast majority” of cases reported to member agencies involve people the victim knows, including relatives, caregivers, neighbors, and friends.
The California Department of Insurance (CDI) Senior Gateway is a one-stop website intended for seniors, their families, and caregivers with the information they need to connect with resources, find answers, and solve problems.
The following list of tips is provided by CDI to help protect older adults protect themselves from financial abuse:
- Never give out financial information such as bank account, credit card, social security, or Medicare numbers to someone you do not know.
- Medicare and Social Security do not cold-call beneficiaries or make house calls. If someone calls you and says they are from Medicare or Social Security, hang up. Do not give them any information.
- Don't be pressured into buying anything immediately or because the offer will expire if you don't act soon. Never be afraid to call someone for assistance. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
- Before making any important financial decisions, make sure you fully understand the purpose and effect of the product you intend to purchase.
- If you do make a purchase, make sure you get everything in writing and require copies of all documentation.
- It is advisable not to wire money to anyone.
- Do not share personal information like your address or phone number on social networking sites like Facebook.
- Do not let strangers into your home without a trusted person, such as a family member or friend, present.
- Delete e-mail messages that ask you to verify your account information. Banks, credit card companies, and Paypal will not ask for this.
- If you suspect anything is wrong, or that you or a loved one is being abused, do not hesitate to contact your local law enforcement agency to report your suspicions.
For more information on Fraud and Financial Abuse, visit the Fraud & Scams page. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to my staff at (619) 531-7913.