The Long Beach Aging Services Collaborative (LBASC) emerged out of several confluent factors. In Fall 2018, the City of Long Beach Health Department established the Age-Friendly Long Beach Steering Committee. At the same time, the Center for Successful Aging (CSA) at California State University, Long Beach established the Beach 2030 Aging Taskforce to inform the university’s strategic planning process. The latter culminated in a community event “Successful Aging in Long Beach: Building Collaborative Solutions” in May 2019, bringing together 57 community stakeholders, including businesses, community organizations, and CSULB faculty. This event resulted in a call for establishing an aging service provider consortium or network in Long Beach. In Fall 2019, CSA sent a survey to all attendees in this event, as well as participants in the city’s age-friendly strategic planning process, to elicit their input on the structure and function of this proposed network. Using the results of this survey, we organized our first network meeting held on March 3, 2020 in collaboration between CSA and the Healthy Aging Center at the Long Beach Health Department. When stay-at-home orders were issued mid-March 2020, we quickly transformed this still informal network into weekly meetings facilitated by the Health Department to quickly share information among interested providers who were struggling to provide support to older adults in our community during this unprecedented time. CSA established and runs a Facebook Group for the Collaborative to facilitate communication in between meetings. We currently meet every two weeks.
Aging services in Long Beach, as elsewhere in the United States, tend to be fragmented leading to inefficiencies and inequities in serving the needs of the increasingly diverse population of older adults. Long Beach older adults face a myriad of social issues including social and linguistic isolation, limited income/poverty, disability, and language barriers, as well as gaps in services. Of the population of Long Beach residents who are 65 years and over: 47% live alone, 40% of people 65 and older in Long Beach live with at least one disability, 13.3% live below 100 percent of the poverty level , 44.3% have retirement income at their disposal, and 35% of older adult residents speak a language other than English. Addressing the abovementioned fragmentations and inefficacies also include providing cultural competency training and support for all aging service providers to be able to address our diverse population, many of whom who have multiple identities that have historically been disenfranchised.
Through engaging approximately 40 organizations at regular meetings, in addition to 100 on our active mailing list, we have a collective reach across geographic regions, diverse demographics, and a range of socioeconomic levels. There are over 76,000 older adults aged 60 and over, 52,000 of which are aged 65 and over, living in Long Beach. The older adult population is diverse in its race/ethnicity and is becoming more diverse over the years. Our hope is to solidify the functioning of this network of providers and expand its membership to make the broadest impact on supporting our diverse community of older adults enabling older adults to age in place in their community with the resources necessary to live a high quality of life.