No One Left Behind

little tokyo seniors

Respect for our elders is a cornerstone of Asian cultures and taking care of them as they grow older is a responsibility that many members of our community undertake. This level of care can be a major emotional and financial challenge for family caregivers. LTSC’s Caregiver Support Program was created to provide critical support through assistance, training, education and counseling, so that caregivers can provide their elders with the best possible quality of life.

This vital program was put in jeopardy when crucial funding was cut in 2018. LA County restructured funding so that only a handful of major organizations could get funding. Though these larger organizations could provide services to a broader population, they didn’t have the connections, understanding, or the language capacity to reach and serve all the various ethnic groups within the county. Asian Americans and others faced barriers to accessing services as the smaller organizations that specialized in serving them were left out.

“When funding was cut off, LTSC had to make the hard choice to reduce Caregiver Support Services, but staff did all they could to continue some level of support for the caregivers. We had to get creative to access other sources of funding, including gifts from individual donors,” explained Jun Hori, Manager of LTSC’s Care and Support Services.

“We did our best to not turn people away if they needed help. Other AAPI community organizations that didn’t have alternative funding couldn’t provide services to caregivers in their communities anymore,” said Amy Phillips, Director of Program Administration at LTSC.

Something had to be done to get funding back for these programs. LTSC along with other members of AAPI Equity Alliance (formerly known as Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council or A3PCON), a coalition of community based organizations that advocates for the rights and needs of the AAPI community, reached out to County staff and elected officials about changing the funding structure. The advocacy helped lead to the County returning to a more inclusive structure that allowed a broader group of organizations to successfully apply for funding to  serve diverse communities across the county.

Starting in July LTSC will have more resources to provide bilingual and culturally-sensitive services to caregivers.

“It’s good that we’re able to get this funding again because now we can say that we officially have this program, as opposed to providing services on a case by case basis,” said Hori. “Once again we can provide the best support for our caregivers, who can then ensure the best quality of life for their elders.”

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