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Public transit gets creative to keep seniors mobile

August 30, 2011
With its operations budget reduced by millions of dollars, Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) is being forced to make cuts. More than a dozen bus routes are slated for frequency reductions and one will be eliminated. The proposed changes will start later this year, leaving public transit riders with less options and more waiting. Senior Monterey County residents, who ride for half price, will be among those affected by pending transit route cuts.

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Healthcare reform may help homeless get comprehensive care

August 25, 2011
Healthcare reform may help homeless get comprehensive care California's unprecedented Medicaid expansion in advance of national health care reform is a crucial opportunity to improve care for the homeless, advocates say. The $10 billion program, called California's Bridge to Reform, includes increases in health care subsidies for the indigent, including the state's estimated 134,000 homeless.

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Merced seeks to improve public transit options for seniors

August 23, 2011
Merced seeks to improve public transit options for seniors California’s population is getting older, and advocates say seniors will be unable to easily remain mobile, active and independent if policymakers don’t make public transportation a priority. In the Central Valley town of Merced, seniors are already feeling the pinch of too few options. “I have a car but gas prices are too high. I use the bus, my walker and this,” said Gloria Gonzales, 61, clutching her motorized wheelchair which she maneuvers through traffic every day to make it to the free lunch program at Merced Cherish Senior Center.
This article is one in an occasional series on aging with dignity, independent living and public policy that affects both. For a complete archive of the articles, click here.

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Movable clinic and adult novelty store team up for HIV prevention

August 18, 2011
“This is just going to be a quick prick,” outreach worker Yves Gibbons said. He squeezed the index finger of a woman in her thirties and took a fast jab with a tiny needle – the first HIV test of the evening.

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Older adult volunteers reap the rewards of giving back

August 16, 2011
Older adult volunteers reap the rewards of giving back Most mornings, 90-year-old Joe Capra drives his Cadillac around town to local bakeries and coffee spots and delivers the goodies to the hospitality center at Leisure World that opens every day at 9am. The spry Capra, who has lived in the sprawling retirement community in Orange County town of Seal Beach for 13 years, was recently recognized for logging about 3,500 hours of picking up breakfast treats for his fellow residents. The former U.S. Navy nurse is in great physical health, doesn’t drink or smoke and walks a mile and a half a day. But Capra said volunteering is an important part of his health regimen. “My doctor told me, I love you doing this, Joe, because you are helping people,” he said. “He said it’s good for your health and that’s true…It makes me feel better and I’m not stressed out at all.”

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A Citizen’s Guide to South Sacramento

August 11, 2011
A Citizen’s Guide to South Sacramento A UC Davis professor is pushing the field of architecture in a new direction. Instead of designing new structures, Michael Rios asks his students to try re-imagining structures that already exist. The designs they have responded with range from converting the underbelly of a freeway in a run-down neighborhood into a shadow garden to designing affordable housing out of freight containers in a mobile park. Rios is trying to show that there is a place for social entrepreneurship in architecture: designing with a focus on social capital and human capital, rather than focusing on capital itself.

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Mental health patients shuffled between counties

August 11, 2011
One county drops a service and another county picks up the slack. It's happening between Fresno and Kern counties when it comes to care for mentally ill patients in crisis. Two years ago, Fresno County shut down its mental health crisis stabilization unit, blaming high operating costs. Patients released after the closure ended up back in the hospital - this time in the ER under an involuntary medical hold. Fresno emergency rooms were ill-equipped to handle mental health issues, and hospitals shipped them off to Kern County for psychiatric crisis treatment.

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Low-income health program will insure only a fraction of eligible residents in Monterey County

August 9, 2011
Low-income health program will insure only a fraction of eligible residents in Monterey County Eleven thousand Monterey County residents are expected to be eligible for healthcare benefits under the Bridge to Reform program, according to an estimate by the UCLA Center for Public Health Research. But the county can only afford to insure 1,000 to 1,500 of them this year, even though the federal government will match its spending dollar for dollar.

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Summertime and the Livin’ is Healthy

August 4, 2011
Summertime and the Livin’ is Healthy For some, summer camp brings to mind canoeing on a mountain lake, hiking and roasting hotdogs and marshmallows over an open fire. Today for many children in cities such as Los Angeles, summer camp provides a different experience, as kids fill school classrooms and playgrounds during the months when school’s out. Activities typically include arts and crafts, field trips, games and for some urban campers, learning about healthy eating choices. As part of a wide-ranging strategic effort to combat childhood obesity, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center has partnered with Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC), LA’s Best, and other organizations, to get children excited about nutritious food and physical activity. Healthy Habits summer program is offered by Cedars-Sinai at six locations in underserved areas of Los Angeles.

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Immigration status a pre-existing condition under healthcare reform?

August 4, 2011
Immigration status a pre-existing condition under healthcare reform? One of the very first provisions of national health care reform to take effect was a rule barring insurance companies from limiting or denying coverage for a child due to a “pre-existing condition,” a health problem that developed before the child applied for insurance. Now, some health care scholars and activists say it's time to extend that principle to what they call another kind of pre-existing condition that makes children especially vulnerable: immigration status.

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