Featured News

Service Provides Quality of Life Line

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Dec
10
2017

Sourcewise has been a blessing for South County seniors in Morgan Hill and Gilroy

Published in The Mercury News Sunday, December 10, 2017

By Elliott Almond

Autumn’s slanting light bathes the South County hillsides in a golden glow to create a sense of tranquility at arm’s length from the bustle of Silicon Valley.

The pastoral image has drawn folks to Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy as the Bay Area’s population exploded over the past two decades. But the open spaces also can be isolating for the elderly as they begrudgingly hand over their car keys and the California tradition of independence.

“When they’re in a rural area, they become more vulnerable,” said Aneliza Del Pinal, a planner for Sourcewise, a Santa Clara County organization dedicated to improving seniors’ lives.

Driver Emily Escalante, helps Mavis Roe, 85, out of the Sourcewise van as she and Tom Bambino, 93, make their way to the Morgan Hill Senior Center.

In the past year, Sourcewise has become a lifeline for almost 50 seniors by providing free transportation Monday through Friday to Morgan Hill and Gilroy senior centers. With 11,500 area residents at least 65 years old, the San Jose-based group is trying to address a growing need that could easily be overlooked in the less populated basement of the county.

“They saved my life, really,” client Tom Bambino said of giving him mobility.

Bambino, 93, was one of four senior passengers during a recent morning ride-along in a lime green van called “Speedy Shuttle.” Good-natured driver Emily Escalante collected each commuter at their home to take them to the Morgan Hill Senior Center.

The shuttle has become part of the daily routine for the men and women who enjoy getting out of the house to spend part of the day mingling with others.

Mavis Roe, 85, left, and Larry Garner, 62, right, chat while being driven to the Morgan Hill Senior Center

“I’m going to eat, to gossip, to play games and do puzzles,” said Larry Garner, Escalante’s first pick up on this day.

Sourcewise currently has a van and a seven-seat passenger bus to ferry the elderly to the two senior centers in the morning and home in the afternoon.

The service launched in April has a waiting list of 18 seniors who want to take the shuttles. Ten more candidates are being evaluated to see if they qualify.

The need is amplified in sprawling communities lacking in city-like public transportation networks. Caltrain, for example, services South County only in the morning and evening. The Valley Transportation Authority’s light rail doesn’t extend that far south. Sourcewise executives found some people relied on taxis or long bus trips to get to the senior centers.

Wish Book readers can support the program with donations that help to pay for vehicle maintenance, drivers’ salaries and increasing the service with additional vehicles.

Transportation Specialist Emily Escalante heads out to pick-up a client in a Sourcewise van.

In a disposable society where the aging often find themselves disconnected, the seemingly simple task of transportation has potential long-term benefits.  A correlation between health and loneliness gained attention this year after Brigham Young University researchers found that social isolation increased the risk of premature death by about 30 percent. In another study, scientists reported that feeling lonely is as dangerous as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

The shuttle service offsets the sense of desolation in a community where bedroom housing tracts butt against farmland.

The socializing begins in the van for the four seniors who are Escalante’s regulars. The driver crisscrosses the southern edge of Coyote Valley from a mobile home park to a housing tract to Bambino’s ranch-style home along Morgan Hill’s Wine Trail.

Using a cane, Bambino ambles to the van with hearty hellos for everyone. He wears a U.S. Army veterans cap and carts along his acerbic New York humor.

Bambino owns a 2007 Cadillac but keeps his trips to the pharmacy and grocery store to a minimum.

“I try to steer clear of going out at night, in the rain and heavy traffic,” he said. “I’m not all there anymore.”

Bambino, who lives with his brother and sister-in-law, used to attend Elks Club events when he was more mobile.  The van service allows him to remain socially engaged at the seniors center, which offers a variety of activities at Centennial Recreation Center across from the city’s skate park.

Carmine Bambino appreciates the transport service because he is a full-time caregiver to his ailing wife and doesn’t have time to take his younger brother across town.

Sourcewise officials hope they can expand the program to help relieve overstressed caregivers even more. They’d like to offer transportation to medical appointments and shopping, said Rosie Jimenez, Sourcewise’s director of South County services.

Tom Bambino, 92, has his seatbelt fastened before heading to the Morgan Hill Senior Center.

The group also is investigating the possibility of a route extension to Santa Teresa light rail for seniors who use services located in the north county.

But for now, the main draw is the connectivity to the world outside of the home for Mary El Masry, 86, who never drove. Her husband, who died two years ago, did all the chauffeuring.

Living alone in Morgan Hill, El Masry was “feeling sorry for myself,” while stranded at her house.

Then she found Sourcewise.

“I’m so thrilled this service is offered because it really is a lifeline for her,” El Masry’s daughter Lorna said.

During the first visit to the senior center, El Masry breathed in the landscape and thought,  “Oh, no, I’m old but I don’t feel that old.”

Then she met other patrons and regained her sense of vibrancy. The Englishwoman stays in contact with friends and family in the United Kingdom by Skype. But too often their tales of woe bring her down.

Then she boards “Speedy Shuttle” with its neon colors and catches up with fellow passengers who enjoy the outings.

“I come here and it’s so bright,” El Marsy said of the center.

Escalante, the driver, often hears such spirited comments when making her rounds.

It never fails to bring a smile to her face.

Sourcewise's colorful van seats seven. The organization hopes to add vehicles and drivers to expand the popular service.

View The Mercury news article here.

Wish Book donations help create a community of givers

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Dec
04
2017

Published in The Mercury News December 4, 2017 at 1:26 pm

By Sal Pizarro

If you’ve donated to the Wish Book, the Mercury News’ holiday giving campaign, you’re already a vital part of an effort that’s helping to make our valley a better place to live. You might think that in a region known for its wealth, your donation might not make much of a dent.

But I am here to tell you that it does. You’re making a huge difference, especially where it really counts.

Last week, Sobrato Family Foundation CEO Rick Williams and Packard Foundation CEO Carol Larson talked to the San Jose Rotary Club about “The Giving Code,” the landmark report about Silicon Valley philanthropy that the Packard Foundation released last year. There have been many such discussions over the past year, with one resounding take away: Some 90 percent of Silicon Valley’s philanthropic dollars leave the region.

It’s a stunning statistic. Currently, there are more than 76,000 millionaires and billionaires living in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, according to the report. And, despite the region’s storied wealth and and overall increase in giving, many of those dollars are used to champion humanitarian causes around the globe or to support faraway places and institutions that are important to the valley’s success stories.

That’s not a bad thing in itself. But, as Larson pointed out, that wasn’t David Packard‘s philosophy and it’s not John A. Sobrato‘s, either. She summed up their viewpoint like this: “If you live here, you give here. If you work here, you give here.”

And that’s what Wish Book readers have been doing, donating more than $9 million since the program started in 1983. This year, in less than two weeks since the Wish Book campaign launched on Thanksgiving morning, readers have donated nearly $70,000 to make some of the wishes our reporters have written about turn into realities.

But there’s still a long way to go, and many more stories to share.

In the coming days and weeks through the end of the year, we’ll present more stories about our friends and neighbors who need help and the agencies that are working to support them. You’ll read about Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley’s efforts to repair more than four dozen homes at the South Bay Mobile Home Park that were damaged by February’s devastating Coyote Creek flood. We’ll tell you about Sourcewise, a San Jose-based group that has become a lifeline for seniors in the South County area by providing free transportation to senior centers in Morgan Hill and Gilroy. And you’ll discover how My New Red Shoes, a non-profit in Redwood City, is helping improve the lives and self-esteem of low-income families with new clothes, something many of us take for granted.

You can read more of these stories at wishbook.mercurynews.com, where you can also make a tax-deductible donation and make a wish come true.

There are certainly people and foundations in Silicon Valley that could put us over our goal in an instant — and, hey, we’d welcome them to do so. But, in reflecting on the lessons of “The Giving Code,” there’s a value in creating an entire community of givers. We live here, we work here, we should give here, too.

Everybody can make a difference, and, together, that difference can be huge.

View the original Mercury News article here.

Free transportation for seniors with Sourcewise

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Jul
12
2017

Published by Morgan Hill Times July 12, 2017

By Staff report

Seniors in South County have a new way of getting around with the launch of Sourcewise’s “Sourcewise Transit Service,” a free transportation service that will provide connections to the senior centers in Morgan Hill and Gilroy.

According to Sourcewsie, there are an estimated 11,574 South County residents who are aged 65 and older. Sourcewise Transit Service operates Monday through Friday in San Martin, Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

At the heart of the Sourcewise Transit Service is a 2017 Starcraft Bus, with installed wheelchair lift capacity built by American with Disabilities Act industry specialists. Sourcewise provides door-to-door transportation service, to and from senior centers, and accepts unlimited transportation requests from seniors, according to the press release.

The transportation concept was developed in 2016 after Sourcewise hosted a public hearing in Gilroy to present its 2016-2020 Area Plan on Aging—a needs assessment conducted in Santa Clara County every four years. The need for better transportation to local senior centers was a common thread among the feedback received from both Gilroy and Morgan Hill senior residents.

Based largely on the voices of the community, Sourcewise began piloting its transportation service called “Speedy Shuttle.” The pilot quickly became a highly-demanded service, providing 562 one-way rides in its first three months of operation. Sourcewise receives federal funding from the Older Americans Act of 1965, which was passed by Congress in response to concern about a lack of community social services for older persons.

With the added capacity of the transit service bus, the Sourcewise South County office is positioned to double its transportation service.

“Sourcewise strives to find innovative solutions that benefit our clients and support freedom of individual choice and independence,” said Manuel Altamirano, Chief Operating Officer of Sourcewise. “The Sourcewise Transit Service creates greater access for frail and isolated seniors who otherwise may not be able to leave their home.”

Future plans to expand the Sourcewise Transit Service include door-to-door rides for doctors’ appointments as well as new route extensions to Santa Teresa light rail, the connection to North Valley.

Sourcewise is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving seniors, families, and their caregivers in Santa Clara County for the past 43 years.

Anyone interested in learning more about Sourcewise programs and services can visit mysourcewise.com. For information on the Sourcewise Transit Service or to request a ride, call Sourcewise South County office: (408) 762-7362.

If anyone is interested in supporting the Sourcewise Transit Service, they may make a donation directly to Sourcewise, citing “Sourcewise Transit Service” in the memo line. All donations can be mailed to the Morgan Hill Office: 16340 Monterey Road, Morgan Hill, CA 95037.

View Morgan Hill Times article here.

Press Releases

Attend Sourcewise Virtual Community Education Presentations to Learn More About 2021 Medicare Updates

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Oct
09
2020

Santa Clara, October 8, 2020: Beginning October 15, 2020, the Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) launches its 2020 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) Educational series. HICAP provides one-on-one confidential, free, and unbiased counseling for the open enrollment period for individuals to change or modify Medicare insurance plans.

Each year, there could be new changes to copayments, allowable medications, physician networks, and more. HICAP counselors will be available to help individuals make informed decisions about their health benefits.

“Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is October 15 through December 7 for people who already have Medicare. It’s a good time to see if your drug plan or Medicare Advantage HMO is still right for you. You can then make changes for the upcoming year. HICAP can help you evaluate your options, like finding a cost-effective Medicare drug plan,” explains Marcelo Espiritu, Director of Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program.

During AEP, Medicare beneficiaries should be aware of:

  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plan costs and formulary changes for 2021
  • Medicare Advantage Plan costs and benefits for 2021
  • Enrollment timing and rights to change plans, including the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment from January through March each year

This year, HICAP is exploring new ways to provide important AEP updates to the community.

“We [HICAP] continue to offer counseling sessions over the phone and in some cases by video conference if you download the Microsoft Teams Application. Webinars during the AEP will be offered and hosted by Sourcewise and in partnership with various Santa Clara County community groups. Visit the Sourcewise Online Event Calendar for a list of AEP webinars” Marcelo continues to share.

Register today to attend one of the webinars.

All year-round, you can receive personalized Medicare counseling and community education services. HICAP counselors help individuals, their families, and caregivers transition into Medicare and solve other health insurance issues that may occur throughout the year.

Contact info: Information & Awareness

(408) 350-3200, option 1

community@mysourcewise.com

Stay safe during Excessive Heat Advisory and Evacuation orders

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Aug
21
2020

Santa Clara, CA, August 21, 2020: The recent wildfires, heatwaves, power outages, and evacuations in parts of the County, on top of the COVID-19 pandemic, has everyone on alert.

The air quality in parts of Santa Clara County is compromised which may impact adults who are sensitive to unclean air. The Airnow quality index which measures pollution states that any reading over 100 is unhealthy for sensitive groups. When this reading surpasses 150 the air is unhealthy for people even if they have no health risks. Therefore, it’s important that you are ready in an event of an emergency or evacuation.

Our team has pulled together some quick links with important information and resources to help you and your family stay alert, prepared and safe.

 

Important Emergency and Safety Preparedness Resources

Sign Up for AlertSCC

  • AlertSCC is a free and easy way to get emergency alerts sent directly to your cell phone or mobile device, landline, or email.

WILDFIRES

In Santa Clara County, the SCU Lightning Complex fires are burning in the eastern part of the county, please stay alert and follow orders from CalFire.

The Red Cross has opened Evacuation Resources Centers to assess needs and determine resources needed at the following locations:

  • Milpitas Library, 160 N. Main Street, Milpitas CA 95035​
  • Ann Sobrato High School, 401 Burnett Ave., Morgan Hill CA 95037​

HOT WEATHER SAFETY

POWER SHUTOFFS

With the increased wildfire threat our state faces, PG&E is enhancing and expanding our efforts to reduce wildfire risks and keep our customers and communities safe and prepared. This includes Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS).

A PSPS could mean that you might be without power for several days, even if you do not live in a high fire-threat area. Losing power will undoubtedly bring challenges, but by preparing in advance you can reduce the stress and anxiety of a PSPS.

Rotating outages are due to strain on California's grid. The need for outages is determined by the statewide grid operator CAISO and not PG&E. Rotating outages are not related to any issues with PG&E's equipment or its ability to deliver energy locally. PG&E has included a power outage lookup tool to help residents check to see if you will be impacted.

If rotating outages are needed, PG&E will post information at this page to show the order in which PG&E will likely proceed, if ordered by CAISO to turn off power. Estimated restoration times are 2-3 hours after the outage actually starts. The situation remains dynamic and shutoff times may change. Check back at this page frequently for updates.

Sourcewise is the designated Area Agency on Aging of Santa Clara County and is one of thirty-three Area Agencies on Aging in California. As an independent non-profit organization, Sourcewise educates, prepares, and provides direct support services and resources to older adults, caregivers and individuals with disabilities in Santa Clara County.

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Contact info: Information & Awareness
(408) 350-3200, option 1
community@mysourcewise.com

We welcome the re-use, republication, and distribution of Sourcewise content. Please credit us with the following information: Used with the permission of mysourcewise.com.

Sourcewise To Host Community Education Series Focused On Medicare & Drug Plan Updates For 2020

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Oct
01
2019

San Jose, October 1, 2019: On October 16, 2019, the Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) launches its 2019 Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) Educational Series. HICAP provides free, confidential one-on-one counseling, education, and assistance to individuals and their families on Medicare, Long Term Care insurance, other health insurance related issues, and planning ahead for Long Term care needs.

The HICAP program helps Santa Clara County Medicare enrollees identify any changes to their plans, the options available, and how to execute their Medicare and supplement choices.

This October 16 to December 7 - the 2019 Annual Enrollment Period beneficiaries should be aware of:

  • Medicare Prescription Drug Plan costs and formulary changes for 2020
  • Medicare Advantage Plan costs and benefits for 2020
  • Enrollment timing and rights to change plans, including the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment from January through March each year

“Your Medicare choices can be stressful. Plans, benefits, and costs change yearly.” explains Marcelo Espiritu, Director of Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program. “There are many changes to the Medicare.gov PlanFinder in this enrollment period. We encourage individuals to sign up for a free MyMedicare.gov account. This online account will allow our counselors to analyze our enrollees drug plan options quickly.”
 

Learn about Medicare Options for 2020 at convenient locations in Santa Clara County:

 

Through personalized counseling sessions and community education, Sourcewise Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program counselors help consumers make informed decisions about their health benefits. HICAP counselors are available year around to assist with comparison charts, insurance plan benefits, claim or benefit denials, and other health insurance related billing questions.

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Contact Info: Information & Awareness
(408) 350-3200, option 1
community@mysourcewise.com