Partnership initiative provides new staffing, expanded programs and financial help for older adults
LOS ANGELES, September 18, 2017 – For many older adults, managing healthcare 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, isolation and depression. Among Japanese American and Japanese older adults, there is a significant need for support services. This is particularly true for monolingual Japanese speakers. 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.
For decades, Keiro and Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) have provided health and mental health-related services and programs for Japanese American and Japanese older adults and their caregivers. Today, the two organizations announced a partnership initiative to expand and enhance LTSC’s existing bilingual services, while integrating Keiro’s experience, knowledge and resources.
Through a three-year, $500,000 commitment from Keiro, the collaboration will:
- Enhance programs at the Far East Lounge. The Far East Lounge, LTSC’s multi-purpose gathering space for older adults and others in Little Tokyo and surrounding areas, organizes fun activities to improve memory, physical health and social wellbeing, as well as reduce isolation and depressive symptoms. Keiro funding will support the addition of a counselor to help older adults and their caregivers connect with needed social services, offer workshops on topics like managing memory loss and coping with challenges and broaden LTSC’s community engagement efforts to reach more seniors.
- Expand LTSC’s capacity to serve caregivers through a caregiver support specialist. LTSC’s bilingual social workers and care managers assist seniors with tasks such as navigating government benefits, translating health and government-related documents, facilitating support groups and maintaining a registry of care providers for those needing assistance in the home. The addition of a caregiver support specialist will allow LTSC to counsel more families, offer additional workshops, expand the number of support groups and recruit and train more care providers to build the registry into a robust resource.
- Supplement LTSC’s client assistance programs. LTSC’s client assistance programs provide temporary aid to older adults, without other resources, to help them overcome financial predicaments.
“Older adults today, particularly those in the Japanese community, are living much longer lives, so their needs as they age can cover a broad spectrum, from opportunities for social interaction and education, to more serious concerns for physical and mental health support,” said Leona Hiraoka, President and Chief Executive Officer of Keiro. “We are honored to partner with Little Tokyo Service Center in enhancing the great work they already do in our community, and together, help to improve the quality of life for the oldest of our citizens.”
LTSC’s Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi adds, “Through our work, we continue to observe a significant need for social services and health care among low-income and Japanese-speaking older adults. We appreciate Keiro’s commitment to moving forward with LTSC to ensure seniors receive the services they need and deserve. Our collaboration will help LTSC sustain underfunded programs, reach more seniors and promote healthy and independent living for them and their caregivers.”
Keiro is a mission-driven organization engaged in improving the quality of life for older adults and their caregivers in the Japanese American and Japanese community of Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties. Keiro delivers a wide range of resources to address the challenges and barriers that aging presents: isolation, limited financial resources, complex health conditions, and cognitive and memory disabilities. Keiro also partners with companies and organizations that can expand its services and ability to reach seniors and caregivers, and participate in research and innovation work where Keiro can contribute to advancing progress in resolving the challenges of aging. Keiro is based in Los Angeles. For more information, visit Keiro.org.
About Little Tokyo Service Center
Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) is a social service and community development organization that has been creating positive change for the people and places in Southern California for more than 37 years. Starting with its home in Little Tokyo, the organization builds and strengthens the unique ethnic communities of the region and helps people thrive. Assisting Nikkei seniors has been at the core of LTSC’s work since its establishment in 1979. LTSC’s social services program, which was created to serve monolingual Japanese seniors, is the organization’s longest running program. LTSC’s services for seniors include: care management, counseling and therapy, intake information and referral, support groups, community education workshops and other senior-focused activities that promote wellness. For more information, visit ltsc.org.