4 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

4 Ways to celebrate the fourth of july image

July 4 celebrate America’s Independence Day. While this year’s fireworks may be postponed until next year, there’s still many ways to get festive!

1. Bake some festive treats!

From berry tarts to patriotic pies and other goodies, baking is a great way to let out your inner artist while enjoying something sweet. There’s a plethora of delicious themed goodies just waiting to get from the oven and into your mouth!

Get some recipes here: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/our-best-red-white-and-blue-treats

2. Stream last year’s fireworks!

While 2020 sparks will have to wait till next year, the internet is a great place to watch last year’s fireworks from the comfort of your couch. If you really want to get into the spirit, you can bring the fireworks to your backyard with some sparklers!

We’ve linked video from YouTube that you can watch anytime, anywhere!

3. Take a virtual tour of America’s historical landmarks!

While travel may be restricted, you can see the majesty of Yosemite National Park or The Statue of Liberty with a virtual tour. It’s a great activity to learn about our country and maybe explore a place you’ve never been before!

Links to virtual tours: https://www.rd.com/list/virtual-tours-of-americas-greatest-landmarks/

4. Get crafty!

Create red, white, and blue themed decorations and nifty projects with some 4th of July DIYs. There’s something for every age, and who knows! You might get inspired by what other’s have done.

Get started on your DIYs here: https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g2439/4th-of-july-crafts/ and if you make any of these, we’d love to see it!

We hope you have a wonderful and safe July 4th!

american flag

What does elder abuse look like for LGBTQ+ seniors?

Introduction

Older adults in the LGBTQ+ community face unique problems and prejudices that their cisgendered and heterosexual peers may be unaware of. According to the American Psychological Association, an estimated 2.4 million people in the U.S. 65 years or older identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Problems LGBTQ+ Older Adults Face

  • Homophobia in the form of hate, ignorance, and prejudice.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Fear of loss of friendships or other relationships.
  • Social isolation.
  • Lack of familial support network.
  • Trying to “blend in” against their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Denial of access to services based on inability to “prove” their orientation or identity.
  • Denial of economic opportunities or health services because of discrimmination.

LGBTQ+ victims of elder abuse may fail to seek help, because they fear revealing their sexual orientation or identity. This fear exists, especially if there is a risk of this information being used against them to hurt their reputation, relationships, or livelihoods.

What You Can Do

two older senior men with rainbow coloring

Ally and Advocate

Keep the conversation alive! Local, state, and federal advocates help move forward policies that protect the rights of LGBTQ+ older adults. By calling your representive and speaking up about their needs and concerns, your presence and voice keeps ignorance away.

Does your local senior center have an ally group or LGBTQ+ support group? If not, that’s an untapped opportunity to create a supportive and caring group of individuals that care about the needs and rights of those facing discrimmination.

There’s strength in numbers, and by becoming an ally, it can bring others who were once unaware or unwilling to light of these issues and acceptance and understanding. We encourage you to spread awareness and invite your friends and family to support the needs of LGBTQ+ older adults. Every voice matters and the voice of many reaches far!

Educate

Sometimes, discrimmination happens when people lack understanding or information. By educating others on the problems LGBTQ+ older adults face, you are helping to fix the problem.

The National Council on Aging suggests 5 Ways for Senior Centers to Improve Outreach to LGBT Older Adults that remain relevant today, from organization trainings to providing inclusion, awareness, and acceptance programs.

Seattle Parks and Recreation keeps a list of community events supporting LGBTQ+ communities. You can register to attend an event and use this opportunity to invite others to join you.

Sources

Cook-Daniels L. Lesbian, gay male, bisexual and transgendered elders: elder abuse and neglect issues. 2002. http://forge-forward.org/wp-content/docs/LGBT-Elder-abuse.pdf.

A New Age in Caregiving

What are caregivers doing during this time? May is Older Americans Month, and while it focuses on the achievements that our predecessors have accomplished, we can’t forget about the individuals that have always been there for them. Caregivers work to keep their aging friends, family, and neighbors healthy, so they may lead their best lives in their golden years.

woman walking with an older woman outdoors

The Ups and Downs

Daria S. is a specialist within Sound Generations’ Caregiver Support team. The members of the Caregiver Support team effectively perform assessments and caregiver counseling to support those that need a bit of help, themselves. When asked what caregivers are doing to support their loved ones during this time, she responded how some caregivers are reporting mixed feelings.

“Some caregivers report feeling better, as before they felt they were ‘missing out’ on certain aspects of life. Whereas now, since everyone is staying home, it feels less like they are missing out. Others, and again depending on the intensity of the care receivers care needs, can feel trapped, and it’s hard to even know what day it is. For some caregivers who would regularly take the care receiver out for meals, this is proving challenging. Others have stopped any services from coming into their homes, while others are continuing. It seems to depend on one’s own risk tolerance and overall well-being, as well as the caregiver’s own health.”

Embracing Technology

older man at a computer

If there’s anything positive to take from this epidemic, it would be the ease at which technology has enabled people across generations to “visit” one another, while maintaing a healthy social distance. She goes on to say, “Many are using virtual ‘get togethers’ which they report helps them feel less lonely.” Loneliness is a real problem that plagues older adults, especially during a time when everyone must stay away from one another.

The National Institute on Aging has even released their findings on the health risks that loneliness and isolation can have on older adults. For one of the most at-risk populations, these precautionary measures are all the more necessary.

A New Age of Questions

Everyone wants to do what they feel is the right choice. Sometimes that means making the hard choice. Daria points out the endless questions that caregivers face:

  • “Am I doing enough?”
  • “Should I be doing more for this most vulnerable family member?”

She says, “Walking that edge between the worry and fear of, if my loved one gets sick while living in a facility, I will never be able to be with them nor touch their face again is certainly keeping many caregivers up at night.” Ultimately, we can do all we can do, and everyone wants what is best for their loved one. In the end, being a caregiver is only possible if one begins to care for themself first.


Contact Caregiver Support at Sound Generations

206.448.3110
Toll Free: 1.888.4ELDERS (1.888.435.3377)
TTY: WA Relay 7-1-1

caregiver@soundgenerations.org

From Seattle to Tacoma to Bellevue and Beyond! A Tale from What’s Happening Inside Sound Generations During COVID-19

Sound Generations’ programs and affiliated senior centers are grateful to have such wonderful staff and volunteers supporting us during this time. Each and every direct service worker provides so much more than just a smiling face and friendly voice.

We’ve seen the compassion the community has shown us, stretching beyond Seattle’s borders.

Meals on Wheels Volunteers

Linda and Pam choose to give back by volunteering their time with Sound Generations Meals on Wheels.

“We started doing this as we wanted to do something together to help other people.”

– Linda and Pam

They love being able to talk with the variety of people they meet, while providing this vital service. Their friendly visits are more than just a meal delivery, but also a time to listen to the stories the clients have to share.

Linda and Pam, getting ready to deliver meals in Federal Way

All the way in Sno-Valley, Lisa Yeager, director of the Sno-Valley Senior Center, shared with us the steps they’re taking to keep people connected and taken care of.

Sno-Valley

  • Nearly 1,000 hot made from scratch meals which were picked up or delivered to local seniors.  We’re on track to increase that number by quite a bit in April!
  • Hundreds of check-in and reassurance calls to participants weekly.
  • Encouragement, puzzles and information with each lunch.
  • Free grocery and medication pick-up and delivery.
  • Phone counseling with information and assistance provided

From the walls of Ballard NW Senior Center, Carlye Teel highlights the selfless work that their supporters are doing day-in and day-out. They are looking forward to when the center can reopen its doors and once again provide all the services it has to offer to the community.

Ballard

  • Core volunteers are in the kitchen helping the chef create delicious take-out/pick-up and delivered lunches Monday thru Thursday. Volunteers are the delivery drivers and another with friendly greetings helps hand out to those at the front door.
  • Volunteers are doing some grocery shopping and delivery for others.
  • Our building and grounds volunteers are doing spring yard work and keeping the outside building and grounds looking  good and neat and tidy.
  • Our fundraising volunteers are still working on the plans for the auction that had to be postponed until September.
  • Other volunteers are still facilitating groups, like the writing group that writes their stories and then joins the instructor remotely to share their stories.
  • Other volunteers are calling friends and participants to check on them.
  • Other volunteers are creating art work they share with others that really enrich other’s lives.
  • Volunteers and Board are working with staff remotely to plan for when the center can reopen.

THANK YOU STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS!

Requesting Community Aid

older man who is ill with his wife

Sound Generations continues to serve the community in spite of the disruption with some of our programs more affected than others. We are doing everything we can to be creative and flexible in the face of the emerging COVID-19 findings. As you might imagine, the proactive measures we are taking to reduce the spread of the disease amongst staff, volunteers, and the high risk population we serve while maintain business operations and minimizing the impact to our aging neighbors, carries significant additional costs and presents new and logistical challenges. We appreciate your willingness to help us meet emerging needs each day.

What can I do to help?

Donate Goods

In general, our programs and senior centers need:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Non-Latex Gloves (all sizes)
  • Adult diapers (all sizes)
  • P95 Face Masks
  • N95 Filtering Face Piece Respirators
  • Clear Spray Bottles
  • Soap & Hand Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Vitamins
  • Toilet Paper
  • Non-Perishable Food Items (Pasta, Tomato Paste, Lentils)

In addition, our Community Dining and Meals on Wheels programs are seeking compostable to-go boxes for congregate meals and new grocery-sized paper bags with handles for meal deliveries.

Volunteer

While the outpour of concern to ensure the needs of aging adult are met is greatly appreciated,  we need to keep our phone lines open to serve those most in need. 

It is great to see individuals from the community coming together to help our most vulnerable populations. We sincerely appreciate the groups and individuals coming to us with their concerns and desire to help.  The greatest impact one can make right now is through monetary and in-kind donations.

Our greatest in-kind needs are for new grocery size paper bags, compostable carry-out meal boxes, hand sanitizer, non-latex gloves (all sizes), and sanitizing wipes. They can be sent to Sound Generations, Attn: Resource Development, 2208 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121. 

In the meantime, if you would like to advocate, start a workplace campaign, or help us fundraise to ensure the needs of older adults will be taken care of, make an online donation or consider fundraising online for Sound Generations.

List of Senior Center and Community Partner Sites that have closed or are operating in limited form (COVID-19)

This list is being updated daily. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the institution or location below.

  • Seattle’s Parks and Recreation Department is cancelling senior programs through April 13.
  • Northshore Senior Center is closed until further notice.
  • Auburn Senior Center is closed till the end of March.
  • Federal Way Senior Center is closed until further notice.
  • Lake City-Northgate Senior Project (Lake City Community Center) is cancelling all non-essential programs until further notice.
  • Senior Center of West Seattle is closing all non-essential programs until further notice.
  • Wallingford Community Senior Center is cancelling regular programming until further notice.
  • Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center will be offering select essential services during this time with limited admittance.
  • Ballard NW Senior Center will be closed March 16 through March 31.
  • Southeast Seattle Senior Center will be closed through March 31.
  • Seattle Public Schools are closed until April 24.

Pencil and Paper and Painting, Oh My!

watercolorArt and creative expression holds a multitude of benefits for older adults. Art has been proven to improve cognitive performance, increase self-esteem, and decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. And there’s many ways for older adults to express themselves through art.

Arts, Crafts & Expression

Sketching, Drawing, Coloring

With the accessibility of a simple pencil and paper, almost anyone can practice art through sketching, drawing, or coloring. Practicing this art form improves focus and offer meditative relief.

Painting

Whether you enjoy watercolor, acrylic, or oils, painting has shown to improve memory, relieve stress, and promote positive feelings. While it can be messier than some of the other forms of art, that may just be the beauty of it!

Photography

Cameras have become of the most accessible tools for art. You don’t even have to be experienced to take a good photo. Family, pets, nature, and yourself can all make wonderful subjects of any photo.

Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking is a smart way to upcycle old materials or photos into something to cherish forever. Many individuals use scrapbooking as a social opportunity to get out and share scrapbooks or techniques with others that are invested in the popular hobby.

Sculpting

Pottery, woodworking, or other physical sculpting mediums are a popular form of art for that hands-on feeling. It can be theraputic for some, as you consider a subject to model from.

Literature

Writing, poetry, and other forms of literary art can help with understanding a deeper sense of yourself. It also improves verbal engagement, literacy, and memory.

Music

Music is one of the art forms that can be enjoyed actively or passively, whether you’re the one playing or the one listening. Music has been around for as long as people have, which makes this art form so ingrained within us.

Dance

Coinciding with music, dance has taken on many forms of physical expression. Interpretive dance, tango, tap, ballroom, and more! This art form improves coordination and strength.

How Can My Art Help Others?

Art brings a smile to our clients’ faces! We love receiving hand-made cards, letters, or other art made to benefit the wellbeing of an older adult or disabled person.

Art is better with others! Consider hosting a painting party or other event in honor of the older adults in your community. Do-Good parties are an excellent way to promote giving, service, and helping others, all while having a blast. If it’s a birthday party or other event where people may typically bring a gift, consider asking guests to make a donation in lieu of a present.

We’d love to hear how your party went. Pictures or stories about your event can be sent emailed to us, or you can tag us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram! Don’t worry about size or money raised – every bit helps us bring service to marginalized and underserved older adults.

Got a question? Ask us at info@soundgenerations.org.

Where Can I Attend An Art Class?

Senior centers are a great place to socialize with a diversity of people and have fun with a variety of classes. Learn more about what your local senior center offers.