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California Department Of Aging: A Brief Overview Of Programs & Services

California Department of Aging: A Brief Overview of Programs & Services

Navigating some of the challenges that come along with aging can be difficult without the right knowledge and resources. The California Department of Aging (CDA) steps in to help local seniors handle these challenges and receive the support they need. 

The CDA is versatile and covers a range of services that can help seniors early on in their retirement, as well as seniors managing significant health challenges.

California Department of Aging

What is the California Department of Aging?

The California Department of Aging is a department under the California Health and Human Services Agency. The agency administers several programs that help older adults, adults with disabilities, caregivers, and more. Programs are funded through state and federal programs, including the Older Americans Act and the Medi-Cal program. 

The CDA works with a network of 33 agencies that provide support, meals, promote healthy aging, and more.  

The department’s goal is to give every Californian the opportunity to enjoy wellness, longevity, and quality of life in healthy communities. To achieve this goal, the CDA also collaborates with other state agencies to facilitate transportation, housing, and emergency response. 

The CDA administers a range of programs and services that offer support for food, wellness, caregivers, safety, and counseling.

Wellness Programs and Services

The key to living a long and healthy life is investing in health at all stages of life. The California Department of Aging administers several programs aimed at helping seniors live well.

Food and Nutrition

The Congregate Meals Program serves healthy meals to elderly adults in a community setting. Mealtime offers not only needed nutrition but an opportunity to socialize with others. The program also provides nutrition education, screening, and nutrition counseling.

For seniors with limited mobility, the CDA also offers the Home-Delivered Meals Program. The program serves nutritious meals right to the homes of older adults. Like the Congregate Meals Program, the home-delivered program provides nutrition education, risk screening, and nutrition counseling.

Health Promotion

Healthy living is more than just eating right. The CDA’s Health Promotion Program provides preventative and responsive services to older adults. Seniors can get involved in one of the many programs that promote healthier living through alcohol and substance reduction, weight loss and control, stress management, and more.

The program also teaches techniques and strategies to mitigate the effects of chronic diseases, including:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity 

Older adults can learn to manage these diseases and continue to lead an active lifestyle.

For additional support, older adults can enroll in classes through the CalFresh Healthy Living program, which provides education to low-income adults on how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Senior Care Services

Part of the CDA’s goal is to ensure seniors have the care and support they need on a daily basis. There are a number of programs and services that provide both in-home care as well as care in day-health facilities.

Multipurpose Senior Services Program

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) aims to provide both social and health care management services to seniors so they can remain in their own communities and homes.

Participants in the program often receive in-home supportive services, but they may also receive care coordination or other care services. Each participant receives a complete health evaluation, which is used to develop an individualized care plan.

Community-Based Adult Services

The Community-Based Adult Services Program (CBAS) is a day health program that offers support to older adults with chronic medical conditions, cognitive decline, or disabilities that put them at risk of entering institutional care. Services provided on-site include:

  • Nursing services
  • Speech and occupational therapy
  • Mental health services
  • Social services
  • Personal care
  • Therapeutic activities

Participants also receive hot meals, nutrition counseling, and transportation to and from their residence.

Caregiver Resources

The California Department of Aging knows that the proper care of seniors depends on a network of healthy caregivers. There are a number of services available to caregivers that offer support, education, and additional resources when needed.

Family Caregiver Services

The Family Caregiver Services program provides services to family members who are acting as caregivers to a family member. The program can help lighten the load by arranging for respite care, giving caregivers a much-needed break. The program also offers training for the primary caregiver as well as other family members who are responsible for their older relative.

Caregiver Resource Center

It is not uncommon for caregivers to grow overwhelmed over time and not know where to turn. The Caregiver Resource Center aims to step in and provide core services to families and their caregivers. These services include:

  • Specialized information
  • Referrals
  • Family planning
  • Respite care
  • Counseling
  • Training
  • Education
  • Support groups
  • Legal consultation
  • Financial consultation

A healthy and well-informed caregiver is equipped to provide the high-quality care that is needed for older residents in California.

Training and Counseling Services

The California Department of Aging aims not just to provide care but to empower seniors with training and information. The department provides a variety of counseling, training, and educational services.

Medicare Counseling

Medicare can be difficult to navigate for anyone, particularly seniors who may be new to the program or who are experiencing immediate health challenges. The Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program provides free, one-on-one counseling and assistance to seniors and their families. 

Counselors are trained in the Medicare program and Medi-Cal and can help you understand your options to find the best fit.

Legal Services

Seniors can face a variety of legal questions as they enter their later years of retirement. From problems with housing, fraud, and Social Security to pensions, discrimination, estate planning, and more, sometimes legal assistance is necessary. 

The program assists older adults with understanding their legal options and even finding a specialized attorney to represent them.

Senior Employment Training

The Senior Community Service Employment Program is a community services job training program for low-income older adults. Participants are able to learn new skills through work experience and work part-time. The training is intended to serve as a bridge for long-term employment opportunities for seniors.

The California Department of Aging aims to be a resource, safety net, and source of empowerment for seniors in California. Trained representatives are available each and every day to help seniors achieve wellness and lead long and healthy lives.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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