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Tearing Down the Walls of Elder Isolation

May 14, 2012
The Girl Scouts of Troop 1427 from Huntington Beach sing the hiking song “Star Trekking Across the Universe” to eight older women gathered from all over California. In response, the women – most of them former Girl Scouts – regale their younger counterparts with the scout song “The Happy Wanderer.” Then, together they sing “Make New Friends,” a familiar song to generations of scouts. These two distant ages share laughs and memories despite one shocking limitation: the sing-a-long is held entirely by phone. The Senior Center Without Walls is the brainchild of a gerontologist who eight years ago saw how crippling the health effects of isolation could be for older adults whose social lives were curtailed by wheelchairs, ill health, and the deaths of friends. By Matt Perry, the second of two parts.

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Brown proposes deeper cuts in safety net

May 14, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget for the coming year proposes deeper cuts in the health and social safety net, with hospitals, nursing homes and home care for disabled people and older adults taking the biggest hits.

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The Health Perils of Aging: Lonely and Sick

May 13, 2012
The grim effects of smoking, drinking, and poor eating are commonly cited by doctors as appalling and expensive health scourges. Yet for aging Californians, an often hidden health plague can be just as deadly: loneliness. Social isolation and its common offspring – loneliness – became a political hot potato when California recently cut back on its adult day health care program, disqualifying 20% of the state’s older and disabled citizens from its attendance rolls. Families who depended on the centers for medical supervision and social interaction suddenly had to scramble to find new programs to care for these relatives. Matt Perry has the story.

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How healthy is your county?

May 9, 2012
Researchers who crunched the numbers on county health want to go beyond a best and worst list. That’s why this year’s data also includes information about projections about counties’ future health and incentives, in the form of grant money, to take a turn towards healthful living.

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Brown’s proposal on child health meets strong opposition

May 8, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to shift nearly 1 million children from subsidized private insurance into the state Medi-Cal program is running into a wall of opposition from children’s advocates, health care providers and faith-based groups, who are now pushing an alternative that would dramatically scale back the governor's plan.

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Santa Ana cracks down on medical marijuana dispensaries

May 8, 2012
By Helen Afrasiabi Though Santa Ana initiated its ban on medical marijuana dispensaries almost five years ago, only recently have code enforcement officers decided to crack down on these operations.

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Disabled African-American students face frequent suspensions

May 7, 2012
African American students with disabilities are far more likely than white students to be suspended from California schools, according to the most recent data. Overall in the state, African Americans with disabilities have a 28 percent risk of suspension, compared to an 11 percent risk for white students. Researchers, advocates and family members say schools often show less tolerance for minority children who misbehave than they do for white students.

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Nourishing the Long Beach AIDS community

May 2, 2012
By Brenda Duran In the early days of the epidemic, it didn’t take long for word to spread about the AIDS Food Store through a steady stream of referrals from local health and social service agencies. Today, the AIDS Food Store continues to serve as a safety net for people with limited incomes.

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Mental health treatment newly available at clinics

April 29, 2012
By Mary Flynn Since healthcare reform has started rolling out in California, community clinic have moved towards becoming ‘medical homes,’ or centers of care. That means qualifying low-income patients have access to primary care, pharmacy services, or specialty care. And especially exciting to health specialists is the new availability of mental health and substance abuse services, which are being included at clinics for the first time. But those benefits are dependent on the continuation of federal healthcare reform.

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Planning transportation around the Capitol

April 25, 2012
Planning transportation around the Capitol Sacramento freeways are notorious for traffic during rush hour. Not only is the capitol region flanked by two major rivers, cutting off potential access routes in and out of the area, but its suburbs are expanding at a rapid rate. But help may soon be on the way.

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