The Older Adults Who Are Making King County Stronger

While the mission of Sound Generations is to promote the well-being of older adults, it cannot be ignored that older adults are critical to our ability to carry out our work as volunteers, donors, staff and community leaders. As we near the end of 2017, we wanted to recognize just a few who have inspired us this year:

Charlesetta McDowell, longtime Enhance®Fitness Instructor at the Central Area Senior Center, received the 2017 Washington State Enhance®Fitness Instructor of the Year award!

Enhance®Fitness instructor Charlesetta McDowell with her class at Central Area Senior Center

Enhance®Fitness is a program designed especially for older adults and proven to improve physical and social function, decrease depression, save healthcare dollars, and decrease unplanned hospitalizations. Learn more here.

Ramesh and Shanta Gangolli, recipients of Sound Generations’ Stellar Volunteer Award

Shanta and Ramesh Gangolli have volunteered for a combined 34 years with Sound Generations’ Volunteer Transportation program. They have not only given hundreds of seniors rides to medical appointments, but have helped recruit many other volunteers to join them. The Gangollis were honored at our 50th Anniversary Golden Gala with our Stellar Volunteer Award. 

The Gangollis are just one example of the dedication shown by our Volunteer Drivers, many of whom stick with the program for years. One driver, 85 year-old “C.E.” only recently left his volunteer role after fourteen years when he developed cancer. his generosity, and the generosity of all of our volunteers, has made a tremendous difference in the lives of thousands of our seniors in King County.

Volunteer Transportation provides more than 6,300 older adults each year with safe, reliable rides to medical appointments throughout King County. Learn more here

Fred Geraldsen, 2017 IPAA recipient 

Finally, we wanted to give one more “shout out” to the incredible recipients and nominees of our annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards (IPAA).

Folks like Frederick Geraldsen–who is still volunteering as a Meals on Wheels delivery driver at 91 years old–are an inspiration to us all.

Read more about this year’s IPAA recipients here. If you know someone you’d like to nominate 2018, keep an eye out for nominations to open in January.

We are honored to have worked with so many incredible older adults this year, and look forward to another great year in 2018!

A Place to Call Home

In the spring 2017 edition of Sound Generations’ quarterly newsletter, Positive Aging (available for download here), we shared the story of 61 year-old Abdoul Aboulhouda–a regular at our Community Partner Site, Lake City Seniors.

At the time of the story, Abdoul was living in shelters. Like many seniors experiencing homelessness, he struggled to navigate the complex system of housing resources for months.

Unfortunately, it was not the first time in his life he’d faced homelessness. When he was nine years old living in Morocco, his parents unexpectedly left him to fend for himself. He lived on the streets, worked at a glass factory, and within several years was paying his own rent. After moving to the U.S., he worked as a chef. Still, life was not without its hardships as he struggled with alcoholism and dealt with prejudice.

Through the Lake City program, Abdoul was able to get help applying for housing from Alain Rhone–an advocate with Sound Generations’ Pathways Information & Assistance program. Though the first few options he applied for did not accept him, Abdoul eventually found stable housing using a Section 8 voucher.

In addition to helping with housing, Lake City Seniors has given Abdoul a friendly, welcoming place to enjoy a nutritious lunch during the week.

“Since I started coming a couple months ago, I’ve started feeling different,” Abdoul said. “I’m not lonely. I feel like I’m part of something positive.”

Abdoul is one of hundreds of older adults who come to Sound Generations every month for help meeting basic needs such as food and shelter. Support from our loyal donors, corporate partners, and funders enables our staff to provide them with expert assistance and personalized guidance so that they can age with dignity.

Lake City Seniors provides weekly programs for seniors at Lake City Community Center in partnership with Hunger Intervention Program, Sea Mar, and Seattle Parks and Recreation’s Lifelong Recreation Program.

Check out lakecityseniors.org to find a wide variety of art and fitness classes, social activities, health screenings and other resources. 

The Walmart Foundation Contributes $60,000 to Meals on Wheels

Throughout King County, more than 2,000 elders and adults with disabilities rely on Sound Generations’ Meals on Wheels for nutritious food delivered by caring delivery drivers. While it is one of our largest and most well-known programs, this vital service would not be possible without the generous support of corporate partners and foundations.

We are incredibly grateful to The Walmart Foundation for renewing their longstanding partnership and generously contributing $60,000 to support our Meals on Wheels program.

Strenghtening local communities is one of The Walmart Foundation’s core areas of focus, and aligns with Sound Generations’ work in King County, where we are committed to creating a community in which everyone can age with dignity and respect.

This funding is critical in ensuring that we can offer Meals on Wheels to everyone in our community who needs it.

New Powerful Tools for Caregivers Class – Fall 2017

Powerful Tools for Caregivers is an educational program designed to help family caregivers take care of themselves while caring for a relative or friend. You will benefit from this class whether you are helping a parent, spouse, friend, someone who lives at home, in a nursing home, or across the country.

This class series meets once a week for six weeks.

Class size is limited and registration is required.

Dates: Thursdays, September 21st – October 26th 2017

Times: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

Location: Ballard Senior Center

5429 32nd Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107

To Register: Call Daria at 206.727.6231

Cost: This FREE class series is presented by Sound Generations and graciously hosted by the Ballard Senior Center.

 

Members of Former Bellevue Christian Church Donates Meals on Wheels Van

Dale Hoover of Sound Generations accepting a former gift from Bellevue Christian Church

When members of the former Bellevue Christian Church (BCC) noticed their membership aging and declining in number, they decided it was time to let go of the large church building where they had gathered for many years. While the decision was not easy, it had a silver lining–the remaining members of the group would use ten percent of the proceeds from the sale to give back to various community causes.

In discussing which organizations to support with the sale, Sound Generations’ Meals on Wheels came up as a natural fit. The church had already been donating to the program on a yearly basis, but this time they wanted to make an extra special gift.

During a visit to the warehouse, Outreach Chair Jim Richards learned that one of the vans had stopped working and was beyond repair. After speaking with program staff, he and his committee decided to donate funds for a replacement van.

Meals on Wheels van donated by funds from the sale of the former Bellevue Christian Church

“We were very happy to be able to add another car to the fleet,” said Jim. “As an organization with a lot of seniors, it makes sense for us to support Meals on Wheels.”

Sound Generations is incredibly grateful for the support for their Meals on Wheels program, which delivers more than 400,000 nutritious meals per year to 2,300 individuals throughout King County. The ability to fund a new van helps offset costs at a time when government funding is precarious.

Former BCC members, now composed of roughly twenty people, still periodically meet at various locations such as St. Peter’s Methodist Church in Bellevue. Other causes they have supported include addressing homelessness, supporting families and children, and helping people find health resources.

“We’re glad that the community will be able to benefit from the time we were a congregation,” Richards said.

Join Sound Generations in Advocating for the Veterans and Human Services Levy

Do you believe our government should support seniors and veterans? Now is the time to let your councilmember know!

Currently, King County Council is discussing the renewal of the popular Veterans and Human Services levy, set to expire at the end of 2017. Originally, it was proposed that this levy be funded by a property tax requiring King County homeowners to pay 12 cents per $1,000 assessed value (or $4.50 per month for a $450,000 median-priced home).

However, on July 5, the Council declined the proposed 12-cent replacement, taking over $60 million over 6 years off the table to address homelessness and provide health services to veterans, seniors, and their families. By a vote of 5-4, county council members voted to reduce the proposal to a 10-cent option — which would leave many vulnerable county residents unable to access adequate housing, healthcare, job training, and other vital human services. Sound Generations strongly opposes this decision, and hopes that the council will reconsider to increase the levy to 12 or 15 cents.

Fortunately, the decision is not yet final. The Council will meet again on Wednesday, July 12. If you support this cause, please consider contacting your councilmember ASAP.

If you don’t know who your councilmember is, you can look up this information here.

In response to the vote, leaders from across the region that represent seniors, human service providers, and veterans groups are calling for the council to reconsider. Below are testimonials gathered by the King County Alliance for Human Services from leaders in the aging community, including our Interim CEO, Susan Doerr.

“On behalf of the almost 10,000 long-term care workers we represent in King County, we are incredibly disappointed by the County Council’s vote to amend the Veterans Human Services and Seniors levy and significantly reduce the proposed funding available for senior services. The senior population in our community is growing quickly, and with deep cuts to funding for senior services likely coming from Washington DC, this is a short-sighted decision that will make it harder for our communities to adequately serve our senior residents.“

– SEIU 775 Secretary-Treasurer Adam Glickman

“We were extremely disappointed to see the King County Council vote today to lower the Vets, Seniors, and Human Services levy proposal from .12 to .10.

We feel that not taking advantage of every opportunity we have to maximize the resources available to house and provide services for our County’s most vulnerable neighbors is not being appropriately responsive to the scope and scale of the massive need that exists within our communities. We’ve heard a lot of acknowledgment by our elected leaders of the challenges of affordability, homelessness and providing appropriate, robust services to our most vulnerable residents yet today’s vote to lower the amount to place before the voters in November seems to run counter to these sentiments.

Setting the VSHS levy at the .12 level is a product of extensive community outreach and input – community members voicing their vision for how we create a region where everyone has the ability to realize their full potential.

While troubled by today’s vote, our members remain hopeful that those we have elected to represent us will fully honor their commitment to our veterans, seniors and vulnerable neighbors and do the right thing by supporting the VSHSL at a minimum of .12.”

– Housing Development Consortium Executive Director Marty Kooistra

“We’re urging lawmakers to set the VSHS Levy at 12 cents because that would mean we could make serious progress on challenging and high priority issues, including homelessness, that voters care about. The terrible truth is that thousands of people, including seniors, veterans, and families, struggle every day and night to survive on our streets. Let’s get real about where we put our resources. If we’re willing to pay for improvements to public transit, roads, and schools, are we not also willing to support senior centers, youth violence prevention programs, affordable housing, and mental health care?”

– Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness Executive Director Alison Eisinger

“Seniors face the same challenges as the general population does, but they are more likely to be chronically ill or disabled and more often dealing with serious housing affordability issues or homelessness. Yet, the public perception-perhaps based on TV commercials -is that of well-to-do retirees who spend their time golfing or traveling, without a care in the world. While that may be the reality of some seniors, many older adults age their way into poverty. The levy needs to be renewed at 12 cents to deal with this reality”.

-Sound Generations Interim CEO Susan Doerr