Enhancing Health Services for Aging Latinos

John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund

Building Bridges to Better Health  

Enhancing Health Services for Aging Latinos (2007-2009)

In Brief

Over three years, the Community Health Fund has invested $926,410 ($224,312; $365,000; and $337,098) to enable La Clínica de la Raza to create and implement a plan of action for enhancing health care services for aging Latinos.

Elderly woman with caretaker

In the first year of implementation, La Clínica's two Contra Costa clinics saw 484 more seniors than they had seen the prior year, an increase of 82%. Those seniors received a variety of new and enhanced services (including bone density, retinopathy, and colon cancer screenings, as well as eye exams), were enrolled in a pharmacy assistance program, and received case management and health education. La Clínica also trained new Senior Health Promotores.

For its year two implementation, La Clínica will focus on promoting wellness, disease prevention and independence through an integrated and coordinated approach to patient care at both clinics.

The Health Issue

Through 2040, projections indicate that Contra Costa County's population of older adults (age 65 and older) will more than double. Various reports have found that gaps in services exist in everything from connecting seniors with primary health services to providing the housing, transportation, volunteer, and employment opportunities necessary to seniors maintaining health and quality of life. Latinos (especially those who are uninsured) are among the most likely not to have access to senior services.

The Health Improvement Strategy

There are three primary components:

  • Increase senior's knowledge of how to improve their health and access community resources.
  • Engage seniors in community advocacy and social action efforts. This includes sustaining and, perhaps, expanding the highly successful La Escuela de Promotores, which trains community members to make presentations about health in a variety of settings. It also includes a new Community Action Model, which trains people to work on advocacy issues, such as helping seniors qualify for programs like Medicare or Medi-Cal.
  • Increase underserved and vulnerable seniors' access to health and social services.

Armed with a plan of action, La Clínica staff members have been implementing a number of senior-friendly additions and enhancements at the Monument and Pittsburg clinics, including:

  • Retinopathy screening for diabetic seniors
  • Bone density screening for older adults and participation in the Latino Osteoporosis Health Collaborative
  • Colon cancer screening for older adults
  • A pilot-test of mobile optometry services
  • Senior-sensitive behavioral health and case management, including the hiring of senior case managers at both the Pittsburg and Monument clinics and plans to create a senior-friendly patient navigator program
  • Senior-sensitive clinic facility improvements and marketing materials