FEB. 13, 2001

Contact: Charles R. Carlson, 661/395-4801


Kern Senior Collaborative awarded Department of Aging planning grant


Kern County's senior population will be able to access information and services to help them remain in their homes rather than enter long-term care facilities when the Planning Project of the Kern Senior Collaborative is completed next year, according to Collaborative officials.

The Kern Senior Collaborative has received a 17-month, $100,000 planning grant from the California Department of Aging to design and develop a county-wide program which would become a model for the state in helping seniors find alternatives to long-term care.

The program, according to Charles R. Carlson who heads KSC, will provide information, education, services, and guidance to seniors, impaired adults, their caregivers and families, with the emphasis on linking available community services and accessing information at the local community level to allow adults to remain at home and continue to enjoy independent lives in their own communities. Aim of the Planning Project in its initial stage is to validate the needs of older adults, and adults with functional impairments, and identify unusual or unique existing needs.

Once that is accomplished, the Kern Senior Collaborative will move to establish local, community-based programs in all areas of the county, Carlson said.

The Kern Senior Collaborative, an affiliate program established last spring by California State University, Bakersfield's Center for Living and Learning, is made up of some 80 representatives from government agencies, non-profit organizations, private businesses, senior citizens and others interested and involved in senior services. There are six major committees working on transportation, health care, long-term care, community programs, housing, and marketing and legislation.

"Since its inception the Collaborative has worked to establish an information/communication network which we will put to good use in the KSC PLANNING PROJECT/2Planning Project to survey and develop this vital information service for our older citizens," Carlson said. "We have formed a partnership with the Kern County Network for Children and its affiliate 21 county-wide neighborhood coalitions. We're working closely with the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office which offers support services to 47 Kern County school districts, and also the county's Aging and Adult Services Department. KSC's Planning Project is a totally unique and innovative approach to senior services as recognized by this $100,000 Department of Aging grant."

Grant writers Carlson and Ann Purcell will be in Sacramento later this month to participate in a Department of Aging grants administration workshop. Carlson is president of The Center for Living and Learning (an all-volunteer organization) and will serve as project administrator. Purcell is CLL secretary and will be project coordinator. Jain Gunsauls of the Department of Aging will serve as the state's liaison on the Planning Project and at the workshop.

The Collaborative is leasing office space within the Volunteer Center at 405 S. Chester Ave. to house a three-to-four person staff and will host an open house later in February, Carlson said.

While grant funds provide limited money for office basics, Carlson noted, the Collaborative is expected to solicit help and support from the community in acquiring office equipment and supplies.

"As KSC is an integral part of the Center for Living and Learning which operates under the auspices of the Cal State Bakersfield Foundation, all contributions, equipment and monetary, are 503(c)3 qualified and tax deductible," Carlson said. "Our most pressing need is for computers (PCs) with memory enough to operate Word 98 and printers. Community support would be greatly appreciated so the office can soon be in operation. Contact us through our CSUB number, 661/664-2024, or me personally, at 661/395-4801, if you have questions, or for more detailed information."