Paul Downey

Paul Downey is the president and CEO of Senior Community Centers, a nonprofit agency dedicated to increasing the quality of life for San Diego seniors living in poverty. Learn more at

Serving Seniors

There are many lessons from the November midterm elections, but none is more striking than the deep division between young and older voters. According to exit polling by NBC News, voters over 60 outnumbered voters under 30 by a 2-1 margin. The divide is even starker when you see who they voted for — 55 percent of those 60 plus voted for Republicans, while 55 percent of those under 30 voted for Democrats.

Congress is like the weather. We all talk about it, but nobody does anything about it. We routinely re-elect incumbents — Republicans and Democrats — despite the fact that most public opinion polls put Congress’ approval rating in the low teens.

Malnourished seniors come in all shapes and forms.

Clichés are trite and overused phrases that have an annoying tendency to be true. Take for example “silver tsunami” and “graying of America.” These have become go-to phrases in just about all baby boomer news reports and speeches. I’m guilty of sliding these worn sayings into a few columns and community presentations myself.

Senior homelessness in San Diego County is a significant problem and is projected to get worse. Senior homelessness nationally is expected to grow by 33 percent by 2020 and more than double by 2050, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

Ignacio is a San Diego native and an Army veteran who served in the 101st Airborne Division, the Screaming Eagles. He is homeless and, like many low-income seniors, alone with no family to help him out.

Gone are the days when businesses existed to make money and nonprofits focused only on making the world a better place. Now both are influencing each others’ practices and finding ways to work together.

San Diego’s next mayor will have a full agenda, no doubt about that. From revitalizing neighborhoods to funding pensions to working out managed competition for city services, our new chief executive must begin planning for the graying of San Diego — and I’m not talking about May gray. The number of San Diegans over the age of 60 will double by 2030 and represent one in four residents.

Would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive or kicking the tires? Of course you wouldn’t, but many people make gifts to nonprofit organizations, especially during the holiday season, without taking a peek under the organization’s hood to make sure everything is in working order.

Washington’s no-limit poker game with the American economy as stakes ended when House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, folded and allowed a vote in the House to reopen the government and avert a default by the federal government.

San Diego has a growing, silent crisis. The high cost of living in San Diego, combined with skyrocketing medical costs, is resulting in a growing population of homeless seniors. In fact, San Diego ranks third in the nation for the number of homeless, and seniors make up 25 percent of the local homeless population.

The Social Security Administration in August began processing claims for benefits for those in same-sex marriages, the latest in a chain of federal agency responses to the Defense of Marriage Act court decision. While this is a big step forward for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and marriage equality, much remains to be done.

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