In Santa Clarita, we have a large community of seniors who help make our region so special. Our seniors are integral parts of our community with unique needs and priorities.
And yet, one thing I heard when running for office, and hear often as I now serve as our assemblywoman, is that our seniors are made vulnerable to scams and abuse when they are isolated and that they need more to be connected with the support, services and resources they need to thrive.
When getting sworn in, one of the things I wanted to ensure we focused on was delivering for our seniors. I am so proud of the work we have done thus far to make good on that promise.
Amazingly, our very first piece of legislation signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom was our bill, Elder and Adult Abuse Reporting (Assembly Bill 751), aimed at protecting the safety and well-being of our senior and disabled communities.
AB 751 signifies a significant step forward in combating the pervasive issue of abuse targeting these vulnerable populations. This bill earned bipartisan support from my colleagues in the Legislature because, too often, these communities are targeted and preyed upon.
It’s critical that when abuse is reported, it’s investigated. This milestone achievement represents a collective effort to prioritize the safety and security of our seniors and disabled populations.
In California, there are approximately 8.5 million older adults. Unfortunately, these individuals are uniquely susceptible to the harms of abuse and other serious crimes, which often go unreported, uninvestigated and unpunished. AB 751 addresses the urgent need for law enforcement agencies to receive up-to-date training and investigative protocols concerning abuse inflicted on seniors. This law requires agencies to provide comprehensive information and training on various types of abuse, ensuring a more informed and effective response to these distressing incidents.
In addition to legislation, we ensured that within the historic amount of money we were able to secure for projects in the district, those funds included money that benefited seniors.
I am so proud that more than $400,000 was granted to the Senior Center right here in Santa Clarita to do some needed upgrades that will allow them to expand their services and better serve their current clients.
Specifically, we are helping the Senior Center reach people where they are with the resources they need, as these funds will go specifically to support homebound seniors through their handy worker and meal program. Our Santa Clarita Valley seniors will directly benefit from this needed investment.
And finally, just two weeks ago I hosted a Senior Fair with Sen. Scott Wilk in Santa Clarita! Several hundred seniors from the region came together at an interactive and informative event, which included discussions, Q&A opportunities, resource tables, activities and more – all focused on our senior community.
Topics covered at the event included senior scam prevention, health and wellness in aging, fall prevention and safety, nutrition, medication overdose prevention, and benefits for seniors. And, we had so many organizations attend who all offered ways in which they can uniquely support our seniors, including the L.A. Department of Aging, L.A. Public Health, AARP, California DMV, L.A. Department of Mental Health, Cal Vet, Alzheimer’s Association, L.A. Department of Public Social Services, and more.
Hearing from our seniors at the Senior Fair, it’s clear that the focused work we are doing to deliver needed resources is making a difference. Many said they learned things they didn’t even know they needed!
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, where the event was hosted, was such a phenomenal partner in this event, and we will continue to work with them to bring resources back to seniors in our community and lift up the needs they hear about daily as they serve seniors in the region.
In years to come, we will continue to do the work to pass impactful legislation, secure needed funding, and host resource events to ensure our vibrant and growing senior community stays connected and has what they need to thrive.
Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, represents the 40th Assembly District, which includes most of the Santa Clarita Valley in addition to the northwest San Fernando Valley. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.