New City Database Gives Seniors Useful Information

Seniors can now find a listing of numerous services available to them in La Cañada Flintridge with a few taps on their computer keyboard or smartphone.
The Senior Resource Center database, which continues to evolve, has been posted to the city’s website at lcf.ca.gov/parks-rec/seniors with updates on services, said LCF Division Manager Arabo Parseghian.
Topics include transportation, health and wellness, classes and education, outdoor recreation, volunteer opportunities, social events, arts and activities, and financial assistance.
“It’s a great resource, I think, because it has a lot of information,” said city Parks and Recreation Commission chair Marija Decker. For example, she said, “USC Verdugo Hills Hospital has a wealth of different types of programs included on the website.”
The commission discussed the first phase of the database last week, Parseghian said; that led to the posting of the first batch of information. A second phase, to discuss guidelines on what services and agencies to include in the future, will occur at a later meeting, he said.
Decker said she would like to see the addition of information about active groups for aging parents, specific classes at the YMCA or home care. She is open to talking about listing events at the community center or looking at for-profit organizations.
“That’s something we can talk about in Stage 2,” Decker said. “It gives us time to think about that.”
The database was created after direction from the City Council, Parseghian said. One of the council’s citywide goals as of May 2017 is to provide a safe, healthy environment for residents, according to the minutes from a meeting then. During a discussion about a possible Senior Commission, City Manager Mark Alexander told the council that “community senior needs” had been referred to the Parks and Recreation Commission for review. The City Council later decided to further detail its objective of helping community groups that support seniors.
Decker said several hearings were held on the database and senior needs last year in which representatives of organizations including the YMCA of the Foothills and USC-VHH were invited to speak.
“The common theme we found was they all said we have these resources but nothing that consolidates that, that organizes that, like a central location,” Decker said. “So we thought why don’t we create something on our website — information — to get that out. But the city is not interested in providing those resources, because I believe there are enough organizations that provide certain resources.”
Deborah Weirick, a spokeswoman for USC-VHH, said the hospital’s inclusion in the list was important.
“As someone who does a lot of community outreach and education, the more access people have to resources and information, the better — especially if it’s been vetted by a government entity,” Weirick said.
Where the hospital is listed — under health and wellness and classes and education — also makes sense because the facility focuses on providing health care and holding talks for seniors and others, Weirick said.
Maureen Bond, executive director for the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge, said she likes the idea but hopes the site expands and will include specific senior programs and events offered by her organization and others.
“Like a speaker series or a music series or an orchestra playing on this date and then list the event date,” Bond said. “And maybe after the event date it deletes itself.”
Bond said the LCF population is “definitely aging,” but people considered seniors are very active.
“What do they say? The 60s are the new 40s,” Bond said. “In this community, people have been fortunate to retire young. We have a lot of people who retired young in our ceramics class. We view seniors like 50 and up. Our oldest senior is 102.”
Bond noted her organization conducted a survey that found some seniors like to read offline, others like to walk to the center for information and others are involved with social media.
“This is great if people will use it,” Bond said. “We have got to educate our seniors.”
Parseghian said that if people have suggestions about specific agencies, events or other items to add, they can contact him at (818) 790-8880 or aparseghian@lcf.ca.gov.
A date to talk about the database’s second phase has not yet been scheduled, but Parseghian said it would “probably” occur in early 2019.
“This is going to be an annual thing,” Parseghian said. “It’s not a one-and-done. The commission will review this every year.”

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