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Social Services in Los Angeles

The two institutions that offer the elderly a home and productive livelihood are not without hiccups. Financial assistance and treating the old with special chronic diseases comes as a hindrance in ensuring comfortable lives for the affected elderly. Statistics show that there are thirteen percent of the seniors aged sixty-five and over a figure prospected to double in the next thirty five years (Hunter, 2000). The elderly Americans are also poor according to the report of the Royal Commission regarding the elderly. It is estimated that 3.4 million aged sixty-five and above live in poverty when several other millions live from hand to mouth. The year 2006 showed elderly couple earning 12,186, while close to a quarter of the aged having incomes of close to a hundred percent measure of the poverty line.

The poverty experience by the elderly bars them from making contribution to the institutions that cater for their well-being. This is including the fact that their families depend on the little they earn or saved from their earnings. Those that suffer from chronic diseases in the institution account for thirteen per cent, and the number increases. Individuals trained to specifically cater for the special aged continue to be in demand just as their special drugs. Ten patients receiving arthritis care, for instance, require two thousand dollars in a week, while the same numbers of those suffering from cancer require 3,000 dollars in a week. These figures possess a great threat to the livelihood of the aged. 

These institutions require three hundred thousand dollars each to cater for special caregivers’ fee plus treatment, for instance, dialysis in a week. In a month, the financing of this service effectively will require up to 1.2 million dollars. The amount should suffice the needs as the elders as observed cannot cater for their stay, maintenance and treatment while at the institutions. The government participates by providing twenty percent to such institutions, and then ten per cent is provided by well-wishers, while families of the aged contribute twenty percent. The rest fifty is shared between companies willing to help and the institutional incomes.

A million aged still participate in income generating activities, while at this centre the income is meagre. The organization then channels these incomes to catering for the needs of the aged in the institution. Ensuring more jobs for the aged in any institution will reduce the burden of soliciting for funds by twelve percent. If four institutions catering for a thousand aged individuals of diverse backgrounds have two hundred and fifty of them working, then the amount solicited will reduce by twenty-five per cent. Another way of ensuring steady income is by creating awareness of the needs of the aged through the social media.

The use of diverse social media present today to advertise the needs of the aged as while securing financial assistance is a intelligence way of solving financial problems. The last recommendation is ensuring that students taking studies related to the aged are given a priority in the institutions of learning. In the event that they lack fees for their education, the government should step in and provide for them in form of loans. After their studies, these institutions can allow them as volunteers for the first two years in a way of clearing the loans earlier solicited. This will help reduce the expenditure on the incomes by the trained students.

Statement of the Problem

The recurring problems faced by these institutions emanate from a lack of funds. The problem of staffing, drugs and treatment of chronic diseases can almost be solving with financial assistance. This is excluding the fact that there is need for special training of professionals in the field of medicine which requires time besides monetary help.

International Institute of Los Angeles (Senior Services Division)

International Institute of Los Angeles (senior services division) is a non-profit organization which was established in 1974 and currently offers for roughly 20,000 people annually. The senior division commenced its operation in 1974 and has since been providing quality services for the elderly residing in the eastside of the city. Its main source of funds includes the city of Los Angeles department of aging via federal funds obtained from the working Americans as well as donations from well-wishers. Among the great services offered are case management and social services, nutritious meals, transportation and counselling.

The facility provides help to the disabled and/or frail seniors in maintaining, arranging and monitoring required services that assist them to live safely and comfortably within their homes. Some of the services they offer include translation, assistance with completion of forms, information and referral service, home-based chore services, health screenings, yard work and heavy duty cleaning, and legal assistance among others. The activities in the establishment include trips, dances, exercise, education and volunteering. 

The facility provides health care assistance for the old with chronic problems such as cancer. This is mostly helpful, because some of the old people do not have pension plans and are generally poor or lack family financial support. This is of concern to especially those who have other people in the family who are more elderly or have some serious diseases, which are expensive to treat. There are also the physically challenged groups that require a lot of personal attention, which would be hard or rather expensive to be offered in one’s home. When one grows old, he is more susceptible to accidents which may lead to serious problems

The facility also offers counselling to the old by ensuring that the old find a peaceful environment to dwell in and forget their problems (Lui, 2000). They advise them on the old habits that they ought to abandon in order to live a healthy lifestyle, which also prolongs their days on earth. There is also spiritual counselling that is offered for old people that might have done some things in their past that they may not be not be proud of and still regret about them. Counselling is mainly done in groups, which are formed by the management so that the old can interact easily with each other, because they generally live together.

The facility provides their clients with hot nutritious and healthy meals at their various dining centers at a nominal donation. For those elderly people who are home-based, the institute offers nutritious and hot house-delivered meals.

The facility offers transportation, including vans equipped with wheelchairs for social and medical trips, and door-to-door services. The elderly may experience health difficulty or complication since traveling may cause body harm to the individual. The institution offers ambulance services where self-transportation may arise; it is the obligation of the institution to ensure that the patient was taken for consultation promptly. When land transportation seemed impossible, air lift by airplanes was provided.

Freda Mohr Senior Center

This is a social services and counselling facility that is situated in Beverly-Fairfax region of Los Angeles. It offers a variety of services to the elderly population dwelling in West Wilshire District, Los Angeles on a non-sectarian basis. Professional staff, as well as clients who offer Para-professional volunteer services on referral or walk-in basis are available in the center during the official working hours. It is financed by the United Jewish Fund, local agencies on aging, private donations, the County and City of Los Angeles, and the State of California Health and Welfare Agency.

There are numerous outdoor as well as indoor activities and classes that the center offers to the elderly, and they include exercises, bridge, ballroom dancing, entertainment, chess as well as lively friendship and discussion groups. These help the old people to spend time without any major worries (Curtin, 1996). The center also sometimes organizes talent shows where the old can relieve their past by singing and dancing to the songs that made their youth worth living.

The elderly in the society are usually left out in the planning of various endeavours in the community development. Planners have been keen only to a particular age group for the reason that the elderly were considered less productive in the community. It was regarded as a bad investment hence little or no funds were allocated to them. This particular organisation does not set aside finances for progressing both social and economic status where they proved themselves to have capability and will to work improve themselves. It is seen in many community make-up, community development has been majorly centralized on child or family basis.

Planning and investing in a given society is essential, especially towards the elderly. During the recent years, it has been realized that there has been a pronounced drift in age composition, whereby age margin has narrowed drastically. Money is a very essential product in daily life. The elderly should be included in the budget of the institute where their development can be propagated. Given the many instances, elderly people require specialised housing to cater their unique accommodation.

Demography

Los Angeles has a population of approximately 3.8 million. 8% of this population is over 65 years of age, and another 8.3% of the population is below 18 years of age; this group forms the dependent group of the population. 4.5% of the population is unemployed. Moreover, 21% of the households have at least one or more people aged above 65 years.2 3% of the aged population lack proper pension plans to cover their expenses at homes and therefore depend on well-wishers and donation to be able to access these facilities. Another 17% of the elderly are either physically or mentally challenged, and thus they require special attention, which only a small percentage of the population can be able to afford.

Explanation of the Service

The service this institution hopes to achieve is providing care for the aged suffering from chronic diseases. The diseases targeted by this organization are cancer, arthritis and diabetes. This is for the simple reasons that the diseases mentioned affect a great population of the elderly, and the expenses incurred in drugs and treatment are enormous. There are also fatal diseases that require constant attention, an idea that affects the aged due to the fact that they suffer from memory loss. These killer diseases affect the populations of the seniors in the institutions, a factor that has led to the development of the proposal.   

Proposed Solutions

The project contains diverse solution to the problem of financial aid for the running of the institution. One of them is by the government giving loans to students enrolling for studies that aim at helping these institutions. The cash channelled helps these institutions in reducing the amount spent as incomes on the professionals during the first two years of employment. The second method is by increasing the kinds of jobs that can be handled by the aged in the institutions they consider home. This will in a long way as earlier explained reduce financial constraints encountered in managing the institutions.

The use of social media in creating awareness of these minorities who are growing by the day is also vital. The media will capture the attention of an immense population on the issue at hand and this is bound to have positive results. Companies can also give back to the society by funding such institutions, they can decide to take up the cost for a specified amount of time or buy machinery required by the occupants of the institution. By purchasing a machine required for dialysis, which costs ten million dollars, the company will have reduced the cost of taking the seniors who require this help to specialized hospitals. If a company contributes a million and ten companies pledge and manage to accomplish this, then the cost of treatment will reduce significantly.

Partnerships by the Community that Can Help In Running the Institution

Communities around the institution can aid the management of the institutions in three ways. The first way is by providing assistance in terms of charity work, for instance, cleaning. The hired staff working in the department that concerns the cleanliness can be relieved from time to time by the community. During games and ballroom dances, they can be present to cheer them up and motivate them even during their rest hours. The last way the community can be of help to institutions run their activities is by providing financial support.

Conclusion

International Institute of Los Angeles (Senior Services Division) houses up to 20,000 seniors and is the third biggest institution in the world dealing with the elderly in Los Angeles. Financial constraints can be reduced when the above explained actions are practised, while the care for those with chronic lifestyle diseases can also benefit from the same. It is of great importance to factor in the elderly for they helped in bringing the American economy to where it is by educating the present generation. This is besides the fact that they contributed to the government through taxes and brought this generation to where it lays presently.

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