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For decades, Keiro and Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) have provided various health-related services and programs for Japanese American and Japanese older adults and their caregivers. In August of 2017, the two organizations announced a partnership initiative to expand and enhance LTSC’s existing bilingual services, while integrating Keiro’s experience, knowledge, and resources.

For many older adults, managing health care needs and other personal affairs can be daunting. The stress of responding to letters from the Social Security Administration, arranging transportation for medical appointments, or resolving problems with a landlord can lead to feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Among Japanese American and Japanese older adults, there is a significant need for supportive services.

This is especially prevalent among the monolingual Japanese-speaking population. Friends and family members who assume the responsibility of caring for older adults face their own set of challenges and can themselves benefit from information and support.

In 2019, the partnership shifted in focusing the following areas to support older adults:

Continuation of the Client Assistance Fund

The client assistance fund provides temporary aid to older adults, who are without other resources, to help them overcome financial predicaments.

Mental Health Initiative

LTSC is one of the few organizations able to provide mental health counseling services in Japanese in Southern California. With the need for mental health support continuing to grow, these services remain vital in addressing mental health issues and their impact on both the individual and their families. This partnership supports expanded counseling services to low-income Japanese older adults facing conditions such as clinical depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Caregiver Support Initiative

Family caregivers provide critical support to older loved ones, but many experience significant levels of stress – negatively impacting their own wellbeing as well as that of those who they care for. Support groups, both in-person and virtual, empower caregivers to receive support from others who share their challenges and experiences. Through the partnership, LTSC and Keiro are developing a caregiver support group facilitator curriculum, intended for lay facilitators who wish to start a support group at their church or community organization.