Gerontology Program hosts Silver Lining Lecture and Community Training

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

SF Mayor London Breed gives featured speech and receives advocacy award

The Gerontology Program of San Francisco State University's School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement hosted the Silver Lining Lecture and Community Training on September 27 at the Seven Hills Conference Center.

Approximately 165 participants — including faculty, staff, students, administrators, alumni and community members — attended this special event focused on “Addressing Aging and Homelessness,” hosted in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Aging & Adult Services (DAAS).

As the expression goes, "every cloud has a silver lining." The Gerontology Advisory Council decided to focus this year’s event on addressing aging and homelessness after hearing story after story of colleagues trying to help those who were running out of resources and being forced into the streets. The San Francisco Chronicle’s great reporting on this issue was staggering — nearly half of homeless people in San Francisco fell into trouble after age 50. Aging is challenging enough when one has a home; to be homeless on top of this is almost beyond comprehension.

Tom Berry, Dean Alvarez, Mayor Breed, Pres Mahoney, Prof Yee-MelicharThe event began with a warm welcome from College of Health & Social Sciences Dean Alvin AlvarezTom Berry, president of the Gerontology Advisory Council, introduced the featured speaker Mayor London Breed, who discussed her important work to create a more equitable and just San Francisco for all. Since becoming mayor just one year ago, she has focused on helping the city’s homeless population into care and shelter, including opening up nearly 400 new shelter beds and helping more than 1,500 people exit homelessness. In recognition of her leadership in elder rights and dedication to seniors in San Francisco, Professor Darlene Yee-Melichar and President Lynn Mahoney co-presented Mayor Breed with SF State’s 2019 Distinguished Long Term Care Advocate Award.

Dr. Daniel Pound of UCSF facilitated the community training on “Aging among Homeless Populations: Causes, Consequences, Solutions,” presented by Dr. Margot Kushel of UCSF, and “Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness: Emergency Department and Technology Use,” presented by Dr. Maria Raven of UCSF.  Sara Hofverberg, DAAS training coordinator, facilitated the community training on the “Curry Collaboration,” presented by David Knego, Dr. Alisa Oberschelp and Ann Tuszynski.

At the end of the three-hour community training, participants were able to:

  1. Identify factors related to homelessness that may influence use of health care services for older individuals experiencing homelessness;
  2. Recognize barriers to and facilitators of technology use (mobile phones and the internet) among older homeless adults and apply this to community based care;
  3. Describe how older homeless adults have used technology and how it may lower barriers to accessing health care;
  4. Understand why the homeless population is aging;
  5. Understand health challenges faced by older homeless adults; and
  6. Consider several potential solutions to older adult homelessness; including creating long-term care communities specific to this population.

Three Continuing Education Units were approved by the BRN (serves RNs) and CAMFT (serves MFTs, LCSWs).  These CEUs were freely provided to all participants upon request by Eldercare Advocacy Bay Area through on-site monitoring by Cristina Flores.

The planning and implementation of this innovative program was made possible with the extensive expertise of the SF State Gerontology Advisory Council and the generous support of various sponsors (including Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, The Carlisle, Rhoda Goldman Plaza, On Lok, Eldercare Advocacy Bay Area, and others) who contributed roughly $15,000 to fund student scholarships and support for Gerontology Program activities and events.

Pictured above (left to right): Tom Berry; CHSS Dean Alvin Alvarez; SF Mayor London Breed; SF State President Lynn Mahoney; and SF State Professor Darlene Yee-Melichar