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Advancing Community wellness in the Coachella Valley

Community Listening Forum: Sun City Palm Desert


·         Find solutions to reach encampments – some don’t want to go to the shelters

o   Many pride themselves on independence

·         There have been a few instances with homeless entering the development

·         Around 25% of those living in the development are living solely off SSI

·         Find more ways to address the at-risk population before our homeless population increases

·         Work to address the stigma behind getting help

·         Coachella Valley needs a system that is more consistent – people are always getting ready to lose something

·         Improve the communication with service organizations to improve efficiency and reduce duplication

·         Support programs in place that are working – Friends of Friends

·         Help educate seniors on fraud and pressures to reverse mortgages


Primary Care and Behavioral Health Access:

·         Increased in-home, affordable caregivers for single seniors with more focus on respite care

·         Free onsite, preventative screening programs

·         Improve the access to health services and education for the aging

·         Provide transportation to and from medical services/appointments

o   Increase the SunLine routes across the bridge into the Sun City complex

·         Bring in more hospital department staff into Sun City to educate on care

o   Eisenhower does come into the community but not frequently enough

·         There are no onsite medical services in the community development

·         High need for behavioral health specialists especially around cognitive care

o   Even with insurance, it is challenging to find specialists in the Coachella Valley

o   Sometimes, providers recommend health apps and telemedicine which doesn’t resonate with the senior population

·         Increase access to neurologists

o   Many senior residents travel outside of the Coachella Valley to receive care as the wait time to see a neurologist is over three months

·         Increase services that target depression among seniors

·         There is a high need for Alzheimer and Dementia specialists and caretaker/spouse education

o   Spouses quickly exhaust savings so there needs to be legal services to improve financial readiness

o   Caretaker education around medical trusts, HIPAA laws, healthcare navigation, and how to take care of their partners

·         Bring in mobile health units to help improve access to care

·         Expand the University of California Riverside residency program to improve the physician ratio


Healthy Eating, Active Living:

·         Bring in healthy food trucks with dieticians

·         Bring back the farmers’ market but make it more appealing and accessible to seniors – inside

·         Host healthy cooking classes – look at bringing in culinary students from COD and the high school

·         Bring programs like A Matter of Balance to Sun City residents


Other Ideas:

·         Residents advised that when scheduling meetings, consider the targeted population’s schedule

·         Bring in documentaries focused on healthy living and well-being

·         Bring in organizations from different avenues of care together for collaboration

·         Understand organizations in the community that are needed but have limited capacity

o   Ex. Alzheimer’s organizations

·         Create educational series targeting senior care needs

·         Bring in health fairs to the senior communities


Ranking of priorities from Sun City Palm Desert participants [please note not everyone returned the ranking sheet]:

  1. Primary Care and Behavioral Health access
  2. Homelessness
  3. Healthy Eating, Active Living
  4. Other Ideas