AGEnts Seek Changes for Older Adults

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The Health Trust believes that advancing wellness in Silicon Valley is best done when people come together to advocate for their own wellness. Quite possibly, none of its programs exemplifies this more than AGEnts for Change, a volunteer driven program comprised of older adults advocating for older adults.

Its sole purpose is to build a cohortof people engaged in advocacy and social justice to improve the ability of older adults to live independently with choice and dignity in their community.

Currently, AGEnts for Change is focused on three issues: information assistance, responsible social action plans and caregiver support. Whom better to facilitate these efforts than a former volunteer turned project coordinator, John Arnold. John comes to The Health Trust with a wide breadth of work experience, experience that will be vital in his ability to assist older adults in tackling these issues.

As adults enter the later years of their lives, information assistance, as it pertains to health care and other retirement benefits, tends to change, is hard to find and becomes confusing. AGEnts for Change are fixing this problem by centralizing the information with the creation of an accessible and comprehensible
brochure. This brochure contains vital information an older adult needs, and AGEnts for Change is working diligently to distribute the brochure throughout all of the older adult communities within Santa Clara County.

Another essential focus of AGEnts for Change is advocating for public policy that affects older adults. AGEnts for Change determines which policies and actions by governmental bodies to support, that will enhance the quality of life for older adults. They then create responsible social action plans to carry out their advocacy.

To date, AGEnts for Change has advocated for change in transportation and pedestrian safety. The City of San Jose adopted the program, Vision Zero, which focuses on improving safety on city streets identified as having the highest frequency of fatal and severe injury for people walking, bicycling and driving. AGEnts for Change wants to give input on the streets identified that may have a direct impact on older adults.

Another social action plan that has been gaining importance is, greater access to affordable housing for older adults in Santa Clara County. Affordable housing is a hot topic throughout the entire county. Thanks to AGEnts for Change, older adults will be included in the conversation and the solution.

Finally, AGEnts for Change is working with a workgroup of the Santa Clara County Senior Agenda to support the adoption of a statewide certification process for independent caregivers. Currently, anyone can offer services as a caregiver. There are no requirements for background checks, reference checking or training. As a result, many older adults are receiving poor care, and in some cases, have been taken advantage of. AGEnts for Change will attend public events where community input is requested to articulate the need for the statewide certificate.

For more information on AGEnts for Change please contact John Arnold by email or by phone AGEnts for Change convenes regularly to discuss local policies and issues that affect older adults in Silicon 408.513.8728.