The California Influencer Series

‘The sheer numbers (of seniors) is going to be a problem.’ The Bee discusses Thursday

Senior health care to be discussed at Modesto Bee health event

Dr. Peter Gaines of the Scenic Faculty Medical Group, Daniel Diep, regional director for Golden Valley Health Centers and Leslie Abasta-Cummings chief executive officer for Livingston Community Health, discuss concerns about senior health.
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Dr. Peter Gaines of the Scenic Faculty Medical Group, Daniel Diep, regional director for Golden Valley Health Centers and Leslie Abasta-Cummings chief executive officer for Livingston Community Health, discuss concerns about senior health.

Register here for this free event Thursday at the Gallo Center.

A looming crisis is on the way, and tied to a burgeoning number of people who are about to become 60 years and older.

Studies predict that by 2060, the number of residents aged 60 and over will have nearly doubled in Stanislaus County since 2010. The same goes for bordering Merced and San Joaquin counties, whose percentages are expected to increase by more.

Is our area ready to tackle the medical, behavioral, pharmaceutical and care-giving issues that come with an older population?

These issues — along with medical and behavioral issues facing Stanislaus County’s children — will be the topics of discussion at The Modesto Bee’s California Priorities event — Focus on Health Care: How do we solve for issues facing our families from children to seniors?

The event, free and open to the public, is Thursday morning from 9-11 a.m. at the Gallo Center for the Arts. As The Bee works to get the region out ahead of the potential problems, the target audience for the event includes moms and dads; sons and daughters with elderly or suffering parents; educators; health professionals and local government leaders.

“The sheer numbers (of seniors) are going to be a problem as time goes on,” said Dr. Peter Gaines of Modesto’s Scenic Faculty Medical Group. “We’re going to have a huge population that is older in age, so that is going to bring with it a lot of problems that need to be addressed, including taking care of this population medically.”

It’s not only the lack of doctors on the medical side, but it’s likely a paucity of in-home caregivers who will have to contend with basic needs, including loneliness and isolation, experts say.

The senior panelists are:

  • Jeffrey Lewis, president and CEO of Legacy Health Endowment, which provides funding and technical support to create health care solutions in and around Stanislaus and Merced counties.
  • Jeannee Parker Martin, President & CEO of LeadingAge California, which is a state leader in the strategic development of innovative healthcare programs.

  • Kassy Perry, President & CEO, Perry Communications Group, a public affairs firm in Sacramento and adviser to The Scan Foundation, whose focus is ensuring our seniors age with dignity and independence. Scan and West Health are the two foundations that co-funded Perry’s work to elevate senior issues with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Administration and the Legislature.

  • Jill Erickson, manager for the Stanislaus County Area on Aging, which assists on prevention and early intervention of depression in older adults in Stanislaus County.

David Jones, executive director of First 5 Stanislaus, Elaine Soriano, regional medical director at Golden Valley Health Centers and Leslie Abasta-Cummings, CEO at Livingston Community Health, discuss health issues facing Stanislaus County children.

The children’s panelists are:

  • Deborah Kong of the Packard Foundation. She is the program officer for the Children, Families, and Communities program.
  • David Jones, executive director of First 5 Stanislaus, whose agency’s focus is to invest in Stanislaus County programs dedicated to giving families and children their best start possible.
  • Le Ondra Clark Harvey of the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies. She’s developing a bill that would help lay people recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness among children.
  • Leslie Abasta-Cummings, chief executive officer of Livingston Community Health, a clinic whose patients are primarily the uninsured, rural and migrant families and the working poor.

Between the 45-minute question-and-answer periods, where panelists will discuss solutions and also take questions from the audience, Warren Kirk, chief executive officer for Modesto’s Doctors Medical Center, will discuss solutions on the issue of Stanislaus County’s — and the Central Valley’s — problems of attracting and retaining doctors and specialists to the area.

Stanislaus County Supervisor Kristen Olsen, one of 100 policy specialists from across the state who comprise the Bee’s and McClatchy’s California Influencer project, will open the event with remarks on the issue.

Doors will open at 8:30 a.m., with coffee available.

**Visit our Facebook event page here**


What: California Priorities: A discussion on child and senior health care

When: Thursday, June 13, 9-11 a.m.

Where: Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I Street, Modesto

What: A panel of local and statewide experts talk about issues – and seek solutions – on myriad issues tied to the health of our growing population of children and seniors and throughout Stanislaus County and the Central Valley.

Tickets: Event is free and the community is invited.

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