Congresswoman Linda Sanchez held Senior Fair at gymnasium to discuss healthcare

Benjamin Garcia

The office of Linda Sanchez, representative of the 38th congressional district of California, has been holding the Senior Fair for fifteen years.

According to Sanchez “this is the second or third year in a row at Cerritos College.”

She further stated that her office organizes the Senior Fairs (the most recent of which taking place on Friday, August 11) every year — inviting 64 vendors and healthcare providers to be present.

The healthcare services included:

  • Blood pressure, glucose, body fat and bone density checks
  • Low vision, memory, BMI and PAD screenings
  • Stoke and scan with Wii Bowling

Other entities present at the event ranged from Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles, to Habitat for Humanity of LA, to Los Angeles LGBT Center, to Planned Parenthood Los Angeles.

One might have expected a clash between the politics of the people in attendance of the Senior Fair and groups such as Planned Parenthood, being that the average Fox News viewer overall is 68.8; and with The O’Reilly Factor being the No. 1 program in cable news — the median age being just over 72 years old (according to Politico).

However, the congresswoman stated after the commencement of the Senior Fair that senior citizens confront the same issues that the general population does, adding, “with LGBT folks, it can be isolation, and so letting them know that there are resources out there.

Planned Parenthood provides all kinds of health screenings to folks, cancer screenings — not just for women but for men too, seniors who are on fixed incomes are looking for service providers that are no cost or low cast.”

Edith Ramirez at the Planned Parenthood booth stated that they have seen a high-level of STDs among seniors.

Huffington Post reports that the high-level is due to older men taking potency pills to help with erectile dysfunction coupled with post-menopausal older women (with no pregnancy concerns) using progesterone and estrogen creams that help arouse them and makes sex more enjoyable for them — this combination of factors leads to large degrees of unprotected sex.

As for the Los Angeles LGBT Center, Jesse Ortis-Boretto of the Veteran’s Affairs Senior department spent his time proposing a stand-down to be held on September 23, in Hollywood — between the hours of 10 and 3 pm; explaining that a stand-down is social services for all veterans and active people.

He shared, “We will be having various organizations that will be offering services. We’re targeting the 50+, but these services are for veterans — whether they’re navy, coast guard, marines, army, air-force, or are part of a family of a military (person). All these service are there for them.”

More local entities than Planned Parenthood and Los Angeles LGBT Center were present, such as Janine Andrade, Senior Center Manager for the city of Norwalk.

She explained that the Norwalk Senior Center has a recreation component as well as a social service component.

The recreation component includes writing and crochet classes, bingo, arts and crafts and the facilities have a billiards room.

The social-service-based componet offers case workers that will see with seniors one-on-one too meet their needs, and possibly “point them in the right direction” as far as resources.

According to Andrade — as long as the Senior Fair has been going on, the Norwalk Senior Center has been participating; and commented on congresswoman Linda Sanchez being present, saying that she thinks it’s “really great that she would come out to the community” as it is important for senior citizens and the community in general to see her work in town.

She also stressed that Cerritos College students who are senior citizens can take advantage of the senior-specific resources at the Norwalk Senior Center by just walking through the door and connecting with any one of the staff.

“I follow the congresswoman on Facebook and she posted about the opportunity […] in early May. I really enjoyed it,” said Cerritos College political science major Brianna Davis about how she knew to apply for an internship in Sanchez’ office.

She also said she was really attracted to the congresswoman’s stances, but she is most passionate about is civil rights. Because this internship has taught her about the work being done by non-profits that are working with Sanchez’ office, she can go on to Law school and work in civil rights with valuable experience.

“Today, I talked about a bill that I introduced with republican colleagues […] which would provide a $3,000 non-refundable tax credit to people who are caregivers to elderly or dependent family members […] because they have a lot of responsibilities that can cause a lot of economic stress,” Sanchez recalled, adding that many caregivers have to work outside of the home in addition to getting care.

When asked to comment on policies that affect college students, Sanchez referred to legislation passed by house Democrats that institutes summer Pell Grants — explaining that low-income students that work and go to school at the same time would benefit from this because it would provide them with financial assistance to take courses over the summer so that they can graduate on time and graduate with less student debt.

Sanchez concluded the interview by stating that she is particularly concerned with issues in the Middle East and North Korea, adding that “it’s a very scary world that we live in; and I always encourage diplomacy first and military action if needed.”

Elsa Hutchinson, who has been coming to the senior fair for three years, commented on how she took advantage of the resources given to her at the fair, saying “I had my blood pressure taken, and it’s perfect. I just came from L.A. Care and got some information,” adding that she loves that the congresswoman was there.