Felton’s Senior Division Director Cathy Spensley, MSW, LCSW, joined the Felton team in 2006, and oversees programs that serve over 2,000 seniors a year in geriatric mental health and aging services.

Felton Institute’s Learning with Leaders video series provides an opportunity to learn more about one of Felton’s life transformative programs in an intimate setting where those attending can ask questions. In this video, Cathy shares how she first became an advocate for older adults and explains how many of Felton’s services provide care and case management to enhance the quality of life of adults ages 55 and older.

Felton Institute: Learning with Leaders, Cathy Spensley

Cathy notes, “Felton’s Senior Division has been involved in bridging the digital divide with older adults for many years now. We are a founding member of the San Francisco Tech Council, and we have worked closely with Comcast and other service providers to connect seniors and school children to low-cost broadband. The pandemic, however, has transformed an important effort into an essential requirement. Being connected today is critical for accessing healthcare, seeking employment, and overcoming social isolation – all areas that Felton’s services are deeply committed to.


“Within our mental health programs, we continue to meet clients in person when necessary, but for the vast majority, it is safest now to provide services virtually through telehealth. We have doubled our efforts to make sure every client is equipped with the specific technology that works best for them. For some, this might be a landline or basic cell phone. For others able to use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, we are working to get them this equipment, and then provide computer training via video. Filling an important gap, we are hoping to secure funding for a Felton Tech Squad to troubleshoot the individual issues around internet connection and downloading of needed applications.

Senior Division, Dealing with the Pandemic through Technology

“In our Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), we are developing a lending library of laptops, so that the trainees can continue to develop the essential technology skills to find permanent employment. And throughout all our programs, we are providing check-ins via telephone surveys — asking for needs, providing resources, and attempting to reduce the social isolation that everyone is feeling, but especially those older adults needing to continue to shelter in place for the foreseeable future. As many geriatricians have told us, the health risk of social isolation is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day for an entire lifetime. When we have groups of seniors calling other seniors, some of that isolation can be reduced. And even here, technology is helping us, as we are able to track all the responses in our CIRCE electronic charting system. Technology has indeed become more important than ever to our agency and to our work with our clients.”

You can watch some SCSEP Success Stories below:

Felton's 130th Anniversary Gala  SCSEP Success Stories  Effie Cockrell and Donna Legenza


Roger Treskunoff Of Felton's SCSEP Program


Felton Institute’s Services for Older Adults

Providing citywide services and workforce opportunities to help older adults remain in the community and age with dignity, security, and a high quality of life.

Division Director: Cathy Spensley, LCSW
Director of Programs: Lynn O’Leary, PhD

Main Office: 1500 Franklin Street,
San Francisco, CA 94109,




Senior Full-Service Wellness Program (Mental Health Services Act)

A collaborative partnership with other community-based programs to support older adults in need of intensive case management including mental health and substance abuse treatment, medical health care, housing assistance, vocational and educational support, and counseling. Following the Mental Health Recovery Model, participants have primary control over decisions about their care. The program includes a workforce component. Referrals through Community Behavioral Health Services, San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Location: San Francisco
Population Served: 60 years and older


Intensive Case Management and Outpatient Mental Health Services

Comprehensive case management, counseling, and psychiatric services provided for older adults with mental health concerns, including substance abuse, to help maintain independence and dignity while aging in place. Includes a specialized Intensive Case Management team. In-home and clinic-based services offered, including evidence-based practices and assessments. Referrals from CBHS, the community, and walk-ins.

Location: San Francisco
Population Served: 60 years and older




Older Adult Service Team

A specialized team in geriatric mental health providing services countywide. Includes comprehensive clinical case management and psychiatric services for older adults with mental health concerns and substance abuse, helping them maintain independence and dignity while aging in place. Extensive work with community partners in developing effective resources and supports.

Location: Alameda / East Bay
Population Served: 60 years and older




Alameda County


Case Management for Alameda County

Case management, under contract with Alameda County Adult Protective Services (APS), to help older adults and adults with disabilities with time-limited care management services.


San Francisco


Case Management for Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities

Care management services for frail and cognitively impaired seniors and adults with disabilities who may also need brief counseling or access to more extensive mental health services.

No fees are charged to participants,18 and older.

Location: San Francisco


Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program

Mandated by federal and state law, professional staff and outreach volunteers investigate complaints and resolve issues affecting elderly and dependent adults in long-term care facilities. The program receives mandated reports of alleged abuse of elderly and dependent adults within facilities and provides visits and advocacy.

No fees are charged to participants. Licensed long-term facility resident.

Location: San Francisco


Foster Grandparent Program

Limited-income, mobile seniors receive small stipends for providing support services for 15-30 hours a week with children who need extra support and attention. They serve in pre-school, elementary, and high school classrooms, and with children in community clinics. The volunteers develop one-to-one consistent relationships with the children, by tutoring, mentoring, and providing emotional support. Stipends are tax-free and not counted as income for entitlement programs.

Foster Grandparents Featured Videos:

No fees are charged to participants or volunteers.

Location: San Francisco
Population Served: 55 years and older


Senior Companion Program

Limited-income, mobile seniors provide companionship services 15-20 hours/week to frail, isolated, and homebound seniors. A new component of the program includes specialized Senior Peer Escorts, assisting people with cognitive impairments continue to ride safely on group vans and attend essential day programs. Senior Peer Counselors are a specialized unit of the Senior Companion Program, trained in working with older adults with mental health concerns. Small hourly stipends are provided for income supports.

No fees are charged to participants or volunteers. 55 years and older.

Location: San Francisco


Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP)

Workforce training for older adults in community service organizations and government departments, leading to permanent job placements, including the private sector. The program includes a collaboration called Work Matters, with other community and city partners to bridge the employment gap for older adults.

No fees are charged to participants.

Location: San Francisco
Population Served: 55 years and older


Community Liaisons at the DAAS Service Hub

Older adults and people with disabilities providing welcoming customer service at the Department of Aging and Adult Services Hub at 2 Gough Street, San Francisco. Community Liaisons assist in providing language and culturally accessible access to service connection, as well as establishing rapport and assistance with other connections in the community, additional outreach activities, and other assistance to Hub staff.

No fees are charged to participants.


Visitacion Valley Senior Health & Wellness

Outreach and wellness programming to isolated older adults in Visitacion Valley. Projects include Chinese dancing, ESI classes, psychoeducation, discussion groups around trauma, a community leadership group, and other community connections and neighborhood collaborations among the diverse groups of older adults in the southeast sector of San Francisco.

No fees are charged to participants.


Community Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Activities and service connection to meet the needs of the diverse neighborhood residents of older adults and adults with disabilities, including opportunities for social, wellness, educational, and intergenerational activities, in collaboration with multiple community partners.

No fees are charged to participants.

Location: Visitacion Valley, San Francisco

About Felton Institute: Founded in 1889, Felton Institute responds to human needs by providing cutting edge, evidence-based mental health and social services that transform lives. Felton Institute is a tax-exempt organization registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit under EIN 94-1156530.

Offering more than 50 acclaimed and honored programs that address homelessness, mental health, prenatal, adolescent, adult and senior needs, Felton Institute provides services in San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo, Marin, and Monterey counties.

Felton is named for its social services pioneer and executive director Dr. Katharine “Kitty” Felton who was called the ”conscience of San Francisco” and was committed to ensuring that children and families in crisis have access to social services and resources in order to help them build upon their inherent strengths and develop self-sufficiency. www.felton.org