San Diego Foundation awards cities grants to benefit seniors

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego Foundation Thursday announced $229,850 in grants for local municipalities to launch programs and policies supporting quality of life for older San Diegans.

The San Diego Foundation has pledged to grow the adoption of “age- friendly” action plans by local municipalities throughout the region. The Age- Friendly Communities Program at the foundation previously facilitated the age- friendly efforts of six municipalities — Carlsbad, Chula Vista, La Mesa, National City, San Diego and the County of San Diego — by providing technical assistance grantmaking and support.

According to the U.S. Administration on Aging, the population of San Diegans 65 and over is expected to double between 2000 and 2030.

The grantmaking announcement came a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom released a Master Plan for Agingy, which outlines a 10-year blueprint for leaders to build an equitable California where everyone has the opportunity to age with dignity and independence.

“Meeting the needs and preferences of our aging community is increasingly important as we grow a more vibrant region,” said Katie Rast, director of community impact at The San Diego Foundation. “By implementing policies and programs that address these shifting demographics, we can better utilize the talents and energy of our older adults and build thriving communities for all San Diegans.”

The Age-Friendly Communities program is intended to promote change in partnership with experts on aging, community advocates and local governments and agencies, including the County of San Diego’s Aging and Independence Services.

Under the program, partners prioritize age-friendly initiatives in eight domain areas: transportation, housing, outdoor spaces and buildings, community support and health services, respect and social inclusion, communication and information, civic participation and employment.

The $229,850 in grants will support five initiatives led by municipalities that — in partnership with The San Diego Foundation — have signed on as global age-friendly communities:

— Carlsbad’s $50,000 grant will support the Move Carlsbad program, intended to increase personal mobility, independence and socialization opportunities for adults 65+. The city will provide education on app-based rideshare transportation and partner with a rideshare provider to offer redeemable transportation vouchers;

— Chula Vista’s $49,850 grant will fund the Age-Friendly Communities Program technical support, which addresses social isolation, technology barriers and connecting older adults to resources. This program will utilize telephone service to provide information, automated check-ins and social networking for all older adults in Chula Vista;

— National City’s $50,000 grant will help support Senior Saturdays at Kimball Park, which strives to improve the lives of residents’ livability by building communities where they can stay connected. National City will hold monthly social, artistic and cultural events at Kimball Park, offering age- related resources that address health services, transportation, housing and social participation.

— San Diego’s $50,000 grant will help support the Connecting and Engaging program on behalf of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department to decrease social isolation. The program will provide and promote opportunities and education for older adults on the use of technology in order to access social, fitness, cultural, intergeneration and educational virtual opportunities; and

— the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation’s $30,000 grant will be used to create the first public community garden in La Mesa. This space will provide opportunities for adults over 50 to participate in events, garden classes, and youth gardening education sessions.

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