L.A. County creates new department on aging and disabilities


News release 

The Los Angeles County Aging and Disabilities Department, formerly the aging and community services branch of the now-dissolved LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services, has become an official county department.  

The AD Department unites aging, disability and community programs previously performed by WDACS and L.A. County’s Chief Executive Office, enabling greater focus and optimization for service delivery. 

The new website for the Aging and Disabilities Department is ad.lacounty.gov. AD is available on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @lacountyad. 

In addition, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors has appointed Laura Trejo as the new director of the Aging and Disabilities Department. Formerly WDACS executive director over aging and community services, Trejo played a central leadership role in the county’s efforts to establish a coordinated strategy and service delivery system for older adults and adults with disabilities.  

Prior to joining L.A. County, she served as the general manager for the city of Los Angeles’ Department of Aging. She’s a nationally respected expert and peer-reviewed author on aging, mental health, Alzheimer’s disease and rehabilitation. 

“The new Aging and Disabilities Department comes at a time when our county has a renewed commitment to support the most vulnerable among us,” said Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the Santa Clarita Valley. “As so many residents navigate increased physical challenges, mental health struggles and economic barriers, this innovative new department will meet people’s needs exactly where they are with tools and techniques that are tailor-made for them.” 

“After years of hard work, we now have a county department dedicated entirely to addressing the needs of older adults and individuals with disabilities,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “No longer will we be relying on a fragmented approach to helping these residents – one where they had to navigate many different county departments to get the services they need. Instead, with this new department, we will be more agile and more responsive to the changing needs of our residents, and more proactive about shaping policy to make L.A. County a place that is more age-friendly and inclusive of all abilities.” 

“I am thrilled to support Dr. Laura Trejo as she leads the newly formed Aging and Disabilities Department for Los Angeles County. Director Trejo has a proven track record of successfully advocating for seniors and their needs, by combining her industry experience while working closely with stakeholders and individuals with lived experiences. I look forward to partnering with Director Trejo in doing meaningful work for our families and older adults, to ensure we can all age with dignity and respect,” said board Chair Holly J. Mitchell, supervisor for the Second District. 

“Between 2000 and 2030, L.A. County will have seen its older adult population more than double. Only eight years from now, one in every five county residents will be 65 or older,” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “The county’s new Department of Aging and Disabilities was created to anticipate and meet the needs of these county residents. I’m happy that we found just the right leader for the new department, Laura Trejo, who has had decades of experience serving our aging population, and represents an important commitment by the county to our ‘silver population’ that will continue for generations to come.” 

“Dr. Trejo brings a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for helping older adults. Her dedication to helping our residents age gracefully, especially those most vulnerable, will help steer our county in the years to come. I look forward to working closely with her so all of our older adults, from our Latino residents in East Los Angeles to our AAPI residents in the San Gabriel Valley, are able to age with dignity and respect,” said First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. 

“Today we celebrate a new chapter in serving older adults and adults with disabilities in the county of Los Angeles,” said Trejo. “I am honored to lead this team of dedicated public service professionals who work tirelessly every day to deliver caring and people-centric programs to those who need it. Thank you to the Board of Supervisors for giving us this opportunity to ensure that the people we serve live with dignity and independence.” 

With 490 budgeted positions, AD houses two L.A. County commissions, the Los Angeles County Commission for Older Adults and the Commission on Disabilities. AD also manages L.A. County’s 14 community and senior centers, which provide a wide range of in-person supportive services, including congregate meals, emergency food programs, computer access, adult and youth programming, educational resources and more.  

Other programs include: 

• Information & Assistance Referral Line for Older Adults: This “one-stop shop” service line provides a range of referrals to older adults ages 60 and older, including food resources, caregiver services, legal assistance, supportive services and more. Call 1-800-510-2020, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

• LA FOUND: in addition to providing resources for community support services, this lifesaving service offers a free tracking bracelet for families and caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism and other cognitive impairments that increase chances of wandering. LA FOUND has distributed nearly 1,000 bracelets and has supported the safe return of 26 people. Call 1-833-569-7651, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

• Adult Protective Services’ Elder and Dependent Abuse Hotline: Adult Protective Services investigates elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect referrals. Call 1-877-477-3645, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; reporting abuse may be anonymous.  

As part of its official kickoff, AD announced the launch of the following programs: 

• Volunteer Driver Mileage Reimbursement: This program provides mileage reimbursements to volunteer drivers, including family members, when no other transportation services exist or when the client is too frail, ill, or unable to use public transportation. Call 1-888-863-7411, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

• Dignity at Home Fall Prevention Services: This program aims to assist eligible older adults and people with disabilities who are at risk of falling or institutionalization by providing information, education, referrals, in-home environmental assessments, and injury prevention equipment and installation. Income limits may apply. Call 1-800-510-2020, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

• Adult Protective Services Home Safe 2.0: This program provides older and dependent adults who are at risk of homelessness with a wide range of services necessary to maintain their current housing or find new housing. Clients can receive assistance on security or utility deposits, rental assistance, past due bills, legal fees, reunification services, and more. Call 213-610-1589, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

• Disability Information and Access Line: This program assists adults with disabilities in getting vaccinated and tested for COVID-19. This hotline helps disabled adults order free at-home tests, make vaccination appointments, and connects callers to other local services such as accessible transportation to overcome barriers to vaccination and testing. Callers can also receive information and referrals to services that promote independent living and address fundamental needs, such as food, housing and transportation. Call 888-677-1199, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. Deaf and hard-of-hearing callers using relay services may dial 888-677-1199. (Callers who use TTY relay may first dial 7-1-1, and then relay the 888-677-1199 number.) 

In April 2021, via a motion by Hahn, the Board of Supervisors began the process to create a new county department dedicated to providing aging and disability services. While the original direction from the Board of Supervisors included a target start date in October 2022, the new Aging and Disabilities Department launched ahead of schedule. The work of this new department and its staff has continued uninterrupted throughout its transition from WDACS. 

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