The Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association is a national organization dedicated to aiding those whose lives have been affected by ALS, also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.” The Bay Area chapter offers a variety of support and services including referrals for counseling, workshops on how to cope with ALS, and patient care through their ALS centers. Respite grants are available to families and friends who are caring for a loved one with the disease. The Association supports research into the cause, prevention and cure of ALS, and can act as an information source for those in the medical field. Please call (415) 392-2572 for information, or visit www.alsabayarea.org.
The Asian Law Caucus provides free legal and community education services to the Asian/Pacific Islander communities in San Francisco. The ALC specializes in handling several areas of law including housing, immigration and naturalization, hate crimes, public benefits, and health care. The purpose of the organization is to advance civil rights and to address the needs of low-income members of the Asian community. Direct legal services provided include legal representation, counseling, and information and referral. For more information please call (415) 896-1701, or visit their website at www.asianlawcaucus.org.
The purpose of telephone reassurance programs is to reduce the feelings of loneliness and isolation in the elderly who are living on their own. Volunteers with The Reassurance Program will make daily calls to seniors to share casual conversation as well as to check on their well-being. The service is free and the phone calls are kept confidential. Residents of Contra Costa County and Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore may call the Reassurance Program at (925) 284-8328, or visit their website at www.contactcare.net. The RSVP Tele-Friend Program offers similar services at no cost to seniors residing in San Francisco. For information, call (415) 731-3335.
The Tzu-Chi Foundation is a non-profit organization offering a variety of services to those who are elderly, disabled or homeless in the Bay Area. The organization is based on Buddhist principles and has a long history of helping members of Asian communities and immigrants from South America, but offers services to all people regardless of race, gender, religion or nationality. Volunteers make personalized visits to those in need and can provide financial assistance or make referrals to possible sources of financial aid. Other services include convalescent home visits, free breakfast distributions, free health fair/clinics, and free recreational classes and workshops. Please call their Northern California Chapter at (408) 262-3389. The numbers to their Oakland and San Francisco offices are (510) 879-0971 and
(415) 682-0566 respectively. Visit their website at http://northerncal.us.tzuchi.org with information in English, Chinese and Spanish.
Seniors helping seniors is the key to Senior Peer Counseling services offered in Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties. Volunteer peer counselors use a combination of life experience and formal training to assist other elders with issues of loneliness, grief, depression, isolation, and health issues related to aging. For information on how to become a peer counselor or to access peer counseling services, call the Senior Peer Counseling offices: Contra Costa County, (925) 646-1695; Marin County, (415) 499-6802; San Francisco, (415) 474-7310; San Mateo, (650) 573-2716. Bilingual Spanish or Cantonese counselors may be available.
Crisis Support Services of Alameda County sponsors the Senior In-Home Counseling Program. The program provides free in-home counseling and telephone follow-up for homebound or socially isolated seniors living in Central or Northern Alameda County who are at high risk for loneliness and depression. Once in the program, seniors are matched with volunteer mental health interns and licensed therapists. For more information, call (800) 260-0094
Going Places Respite Field Trip Program in Berkeley offers weekly outings for persons with early-stage memory loss. This social group is tailored to serve higher-functioning individuals, to help them experience the world with safety and supervision, and provide caregivers with a break from caregiving responsibilities. For more information, contact Margy Falin at (510) 841-6749.
Jewish Family and Children’s Services (JFCS) of San Francisco offers the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Outreach Project for Jewish people who are members of the LGBT community. Among the services offered are counseling that is sensitive to the issues and needs of LGBT individuals and couples; parenting education and adoption services for LGBT families; support groups for parents of LGBT people; speakers bureaus and sensitivity trainings for professionals and agencies; and advocacy for the Jewish LGBT community. For more information, contact Margaret Rothman at (415) 449-1228 or [email protected].
Physically Unlimited is a social peer group for LGBT people with disabilities. Held in San Jose at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, the group is open to persons with a variety of different disabilities, their friends, loved ones, supporters and caregivers. The group focuses on encouraging a positive attitude and helping one another by providing support and solutions for life’s challenges. For more information, contact Greg Landers at (408) 370-5010 or [email protected].
Caregivers and their families can enjoy an evening of dinner and entertainment at Our Evening Out, an event in Fremont honoring the commitment of caregivers. The evening is sponsored by the City of Fremont’s Caregiver Support Program and the Senior Center, and is scheduled for June 9th from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Attendance is free, though donations are welcome. Call Carolyn Robertson at (510) 574-2244 for more information.
The Ombudsman Program provides services to, and on behalf of, people in long-term care facilities. In addition to advocacy, the program can provide facility lists, information, and citation records to families planning placement of a loved one in a nursing or residential care home. Each county has its own Ombudsman Program. For more information call (510) 638-6878 (Alameda County); (925) 685-2070 (Contra Costa); (415) 499-7446 (Marin); (415) 751-9788 (San Francisco); (650) 742-9131 (San Mateo); (408) 944-0567 (Santa Clara).
Correction: Local Housing Authority offices in Alameda, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties do not provide information or financial assistance to seniors and persons with disabilities for home modifications, as reported in the Winter 2003 Bulletin Board. The appropriate agencies for information regarding home modification in these three counties are: Alameda County - Home Repair and Rehabilitation Program, Alameda County Office of Housing & Community Development, (510) 670-5399; Santa Clara County - Council on Aging (408) 296-8290 or the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center (408) 894-9041; San Francisco County – San Francisco Office on Aging (415) 864-6051 or the Independent Living Resource Center (415) 543-6222. We apologize for the error.
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