Local Senior Centers are Unprepared to Serve San Diego County’s Rising 55+ Population

SAN DIEGO — Aug. 20, 2019 — The recently launched San Diego Seniors Community Foundation aims to support the health and welfare of San Diego County’s older population, and to ensure every senior has someone they can turn to and trust. In alignment with the organization’s mission, the Foundation has released the results of its assessment on local senior centers with analyzed data from the county’s 28 senior centers. It is the first-ever report of this kind conducted in San Diego County.

Key findings of the newly released report include:

  • San Diego County senior centers serve less than 8 percent of the total senior populations in their areas.
  • The vast majority of local senior centers are understaffed, underfunded, and in need of repair.
  • Nearly a quarter of centers have no full-time employees, and 21 out of the county’s 28 centers were built more than 30 years ago.

The results highlight a much larger issue—that San Diego is seriously unprepared to deal with the dramatic increase of our senior population.

Nationally, only 2 percent of institutional philanthropy is provided to the aging network, and despite the current demographic shift, this percentage has not changed over the last 20 years. Philanthropic funding for this population should be a priority in all our communities.

The assessment was conducted in order to:

  1. Identify the challenges and opportunities that exist in the current senior center environment.
  2. Provide perspective on innovation in senior centers nationally as a standard to strive for.
  3. Draw relevant conclusions and recommendations to improve the senior centers within our region.
  4. Serve as a catalyst to spur investment (both municipal and philanthropic) in infrastructure that will prepare San Diego for the coming wave of seniors.

“The objective of this report is to call out and inspire community leaders, politicians and philanthropists to take action now and create solutions to improve and enrich the lives of San Diego’s older adults,” says Bob Kelly, president and CEO of the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation. The report is funded by the Gary and Mary West Foundation.

To review the full news release and the report results with an interactive heat map of senior centers in San Diego County, visit the nonprofit’s website.

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