California Commission on Aging Celebrates 50 Years with Visionary Gala

(CBM) – Last week, the California Commission on Aging celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gala that recognized a half-century of service and offered a glimpse into the organization’s vison for the future. 

The event was highlighted by a generous $50,000 donation from Sacramento-based AKT Investments, Inc., aimed at building California’s first multi-generational community center for health and independence. This initiative is set to become a new model for healthy aging in a digital world.

The evening’s keynote address was delivered by California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, who emphasized the importance of valuing seniors.

“It is imperative as we talk about this journey that we’re on, that we value seniors in every step of life,” Weber stated. “There’s a richness in this room. There’s a richness in California. There’s a richness in this nation that if we just stop and look around, see how far we’ve come, see who’s made it happen for us, we’ll find the joy in living, the joy in getting older and the joy of what we have to give.”

Weber’s words reflected the Commission’s history of addressing the needs of California’s aging population.

“Those of us who are considered older adults have to remind ourselves and our children how old we really are,” Weber continued. “When you’re so busy and life is busy and you’re doing things that are important, age becomes insignificant.”

The gala also featured remarks from the Hon. Cheryl Brown, Chair of the Commission on Aging (CCA), who highlighted the critical role of the Commission over the past 50 years.

“As the chair of the aging and long-term care commission and a current caregiver, I appreciate the value of providing quality and consistent core programs and services throughout California,” Brown said. “So much has changed in our state over 50 years. During my time as a legislator, there were times when I felt alone in my desire to focus on the anticipated growth of our aging population.”

California is experiencing a significant demographic shift, with its aging population growing rapidly. According to recent statistics, the number of residents aged 65 and older is projected to nearly double by 2030. This growth underscores the urgent need for comprehensive community infrastructure that addresses the specific challenges faced by older adults, such as physical disabilities, healthcare needs, and fixed incomes.

California State University Sacramento (Sac State) President Luke Woods echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the role of education and community engagement.

“Older adults face specific challenges such as physical disabilities, healthcare needs, and fixed incomes, and we need to build the same community infrastructure that comprehensively addresses these challenges,” Woods said. “That is why this year, Sac State created the nation’s first Black Honors College to educate students about the experiences of members of the African American diaspora, supported by the AKT scholarship fund.”

Woods said at the heart of the celebration and forward-looking initiative is a spirit of partnership, and AKT’s support of the CCA exemplifies good corporate citizenship.

“AKT is really working to design and create a first-of-its-kind community for health and independence that can be a model for other communities around the country and around the world,” Woods noted. “This vision, in collaboration with the Commission on Aging, UC Davis, and other organizations, aims to foster healthy aging in a digital world and ultimately add life to years.”


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