Mission Possible - Improving the Lives of All Older Adults in Marin: Needs and Assets Scan of Culturally Appropriate Services for Older Adults in Marin County


Angela Marks, Sunita Mutha

Mar. 27, 2013

The demographics of Marin County, California are changing. One of the most dramatic examples is the increase in the number of older adults. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of people over 60 years old living in Marin grew significantly, from 44,000 to 61,000, making this group 24% of the county’s population. Among these older adults are growing numbers of people who have traditionally found it challenging to receive services that meet their needs, be included in outreach efforts, and be enlisted as community volunteers. These include low income residents and people of color, members of the LGBT community, those with limited English proficiency, people living in rural areas, and immigrants.

Increasing diversity and an aging population underscore the need to focus attention to understanding the perspectives of older adults, assessing the ability of service organizations to provide culturally competent services, and using this information to identify strategies for helping organizations provide high quality services to a diverse population of older adults. To help local nonprofits that serve Marin’s older adults learn about and consider ways to increase their cultural competence, the Marin Community Foundation engaged the Center for the Health Professions to assess the cultural competence of Marin’s key service providers in the aging field to identify the key strengths and assets of the target populations, and help agencies create a plan for providing high-quality, culturally appropriate services. This report presents the findings from this community engaged effort.