Report: Nevada County getting older, needier | SierraSun.com

Report: Nevada County getting older, needier

Trina Kleist and Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

UPDATE: 2 p.m. Thursday

NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. and#8212; Nevada County will get increasingly older and more fragile in the next two decades, raising concerns about seniors becoming isolated and having no access to affordable health care, a new county report says.

And as the economy continues to falter, demand for services has risen just as state funding for them is being slashed, straining the health and welfare system.

Alison Lehman, the county’s social services director, said Truckee has 5.5 percent of its population at 65 years or older, compared to the county’s 18 percent and the state’s 11.2.

A recent survey of the aging population found the top five needs of seniors in Truckee were dental care, the ability to plan for the future/long term care, minor home repairs, major home repairs and the ability to keep living at home.

But and#8220;the high level of service coordination among government and community-based agenciesand#8221; in the area has allowed those offering services to stretch their resources to help the needy, according to the report.

Recommended Stories For You

and#8220;We’ve had strong participation from Sierra Senior Services and the Truckee Family Resource Center and#8212; they’ve been active partners able to bring eastern county issues to the (Nevada County Adult and Family Services) commission,and#8221; Lehman said.

Commissioners looked at medical care, food, housing, transportation and efforts connecting people to the services they need.

They took information from different sources and#8220;to generate a picture of what is happening in our community,and#8221; Lehman said. and#8220;The information comes from nonprofits, government agencies, the census, community interviews, community reports and commission input.and#8221;

Commissioners will use this information to guide them as they make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for spending government grant money.

and#8226; One three-bedroom womenand#8217;s shelter serves all of eastern Nevada County, and no centralized system of referral exists to help women fleeing domestic violence to find assistance offered by local churches.

and#8226; A coalition has formed in the Truckee area to find a solution.

and#8226; Based on United States Census figures, residents 60 and older are estimated to be 28 percent of the population as of July 1; those who are 75 or older are estimated to be 8 percent.

and#8226; The over-75 group and#8212; more frail and needing more services and#8212; will grow by 30 percent in the next 10 years and double in 20 years, the report concludes.

and#8226; People older than 65 tend to have lower incomes and pay less in property taxes and#8212; though the report did not examine how Nevada Countyand#8217;s status as a retirement destination could improve that picture of senior income.

and#8226; Seniors who are isolated in their homes tend to have poor diets and poor physical and mental health.

and#8226; While about 3,000 adults in Nevada County have dementia, only one facility and#8212; Helping Hands in Penn Valley and#8212; offers adult day care or respite for relatives caring for dementia patients at home.

and#8226; With county unemployment at a high of 12.3 percent in March, joblessness has become one of the most critical measures of social health.

and#8226; Especially in rural areas where economic opportunities are limited, unemployment harms families through greater rates of substance abuse, declining health, dysfunction and divorce, the report finds.