2 out of 5 San Diego seniors have to choose between rent and food.

Aging in America – The Silver Tsunami

The Numbers


Federal Poverty Level vs. Elder Index

Poverty is a common thread among seniors across the country. Many are struggling to pay for necessities such as meals and prescription medication. Making ends meet is a constant balancing act. The majority of the seniors who are living in poverty receive some form of government assistance such as Social Security and Medicare. These funds are critical but often aren’t enough.

The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) was created in 1964 with a one-size fits all format and does not factor in regional differences. The formula for calculating FPL has not changed since it was devised.

UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research developed a better measurement that uses actual data (region specific) to calculate basic needs. This measurement is called the Elder Index.

The numbers below reflect what the federal government and the Center for Health Policy and Research recommend as the amount of income needed for food, housing, healthcare and transportation.

Federal Poverty Level

Elder Index: San Diego

What Does This Mean?

What Does Serving Seniors Do?

Research Reports

Client Success Stories

  • Tommy1Meet Joe:

    “After getting involved here at Potiker and caring for people it has helped me forget a lot of my pain.”  – Joe (77)

    Joe was born in downtown San Diego and had a wonderful life as a cook. He never imagined that he would wind up homeless and alone. When debilitating health problems made working full-time too difficult he found himself unable to pay rent and lost his home. He was depressed, sick and homeless for 17 long years. Without a purpose in life, it’s tough to get healthy and to have a positive outlook on life.

    How we saved Joe from ISOLATION: Lifelong Learning Opportunities

    Serving Seniors gave Joe hope when he moved into Potiker Family Senior Residence in 2003. He is proud to be one of the first residents and still lives with us. He quickly became the president of the Potiker Residents Association and the Director of the Garden Club. He volunteers at the library and participates in our workshops and social activities. Joe considers his fellow residents and Serving Seniors staff members the family that saved his life and he encourages other residents to participate in Civic Engagement activities.

  • TommyMeet Tommy:

    “When I open the door to my room, I feel at home.”  – Tommy (62)

    Tommy has lived in California for over 30 years and calls San Diego his home to stay close to his doctors. As a cancer survivor with his name on an organ transplant list, life isn’t necessarily easy but “attitude changes everything.” Unsafe and unhygienic living conditions in inappropriate housing arrangements negatively impacted Tommy’s health and well-being. Within three years of living in San Diego, Tommy moved seven times in search of a secure and supportive home.

    How we eliminate INSECURITY: Supportive Services

    Tommy found a home and the support he needed at Serving Seniors’ Potiker Family Senior Residence in 2013. Our Supportive Services staff helps Tommy deal with anxiety related to his illnesses. The program provides a safe environment for people over 62 year of age, encouraging independent living and preventing costly institutionalization. Tommy is able to live an active life as a musician and is a productive member of our community.

  • CaroleatingMeet Carol:

    I don’t know how I would have survived without you because I was stuck and could not get out and go anywhere.”           – Carol (69)

    Carol took a bad fall and broke both shoulders shortly after moving into her new apartment. Once released from the hospital, she was in no shape to get dressed, leave her home or prepare any food to eat. With family living out-of-state, Carol relied on social services agencies for help. To heal and get back on her feet, Carol knew she needed daily access to healthy and nutritious meals.

    How we help to overcome HUNGERHome Delivered Meals

    Serving Seniors delivered a warm and nutritious meal the very next day after receiving Carol’s phone call. Our delivery drivers are sometimes the only contact for shut-in seniors and may be the first responder to emergencies. Carol is one of nearly 500 seniors who receive our home delivered meals and the positive impact was remarkable. Carol began recuperating and even lost 40 pounds with our nutritious breakfast and lunch options. She no longer had to worry about where her next meal would come from and our regular visits encouraged neighbors in her new apartment building to check in with Carol and offer their assistance.