Month of Random Acts of Kindness: Extend Kindness to Older Neighbors

As we celebrate Random Acts of Kindness month, let’s remember to reach out and check on our older neighbors, including those from the silent generation. This generation, born between 1928 and 1945, often embodies resilience and self-reliance, stemming from their experiences during challenging times like the Great Depression and World War II.

While their strength and independence are admirable, it’s essential to recognize that their experiences instilled in them a sense of stoicism and a reluctance to burden others with their needs, and as a result, they hesitate to ask for help, even when they need it most. As our client, Joe, shared, “If it wasn’t for you ladies and gentlemen, without your help, I don’t know what I’d do.” With assistance from Pathways, Joe received essential services like Minor Home Repair, ensuring his home was safe and functional. He expressed gratitude, saying, “[The Pathways Social Service Specialist] has been helping me out a lot, getting the hold of the right people.” Joe’s sentiment underscores the importance of offering support and kindness to older adults, regardless of their generation.

During this month dedicated to acts of kindness, let’s make an extra effort to reach out to our older neighbors. Simple gestures like a friendly check-in, offering assistance with errands, or sharing a warm conversation can brighten their day and make a meaningful difference in their lives.

By combining our focus on Random Acts of Kindness with our awareness of older adults’ tendencies and needs, we can create a more compassionate and inclusive community. Together, let’s spread kindness and support to all generations, ensuring everyone feels valued and cared for.

New Year, New Space: Update from the Lillian Rice Building

Welcome to a new year filled with exciting updates from the Lillian Rice Building, where your generosity has fueled transformative changes. Thanks to everyone who supported our 2023 Golden Gala building fund, we have started revitalizing our low-income senior housing units. Here is a glimpse into the remarkable progress we’ve made in creating a fresh and vibrant living environment for older adults:

  • Apartment Revitalization: Nine apartments have received new flooring, paint, two walk-in showers, upgraded appliances, and window coverings. Moreover, we have welcomed five new tenants to these upgraded spaces.  
  • Common Areas: Hallways on floors four through six now boast new flooring, with plans to continue improvements on floors seven and eight in 2024.  
  • Green Roof Project: In our pursuit of holistic well-being, we’ve initiated the installation of raised garden beds on the roof. Currently, seven beds are thriving, with seven more set to be added this spring. Tenants are enjoying cultivating their own produce and herbs.
  • Exterior Updates: The building faced graffiti challenges on multiple fronts, with markings spanning the back, sides, and even some on the front. Collaborating with community groups, we successfully covered the graffiti on the back and removed it from the front. The north side above the 2nd floor underwent a thorough power washing, while regular painting maintenance ensures the ground level maintains its visual appeal.
  • LED Lighting: A sustainability push includes replacing lights on floors four through eight. Enhanced safety measures include new LED exit lights with reliable battery backups.

Your continued support remains instrumental in creating positive living environments for the residents of the Lillian Rice Building. Together, we’re shaping a brighter future for our community. 

Your generosity made these changes possible!  

 

Meals on Wheels – Combating Food Insecurity and Loneliness This Holiday Season

Ken, an older white man in a stripped shirt, stands outside holding a bag full of meals

As we embrace the festive spirit of the holiday season, it’s crucial to acknowledge the challenges faced by members of our community, especially during times of unprecedented demand. This month, we’re bringing attention to a pressing issue affecting many—food insecurity and loneliness among the elderly. 

Currently, Meals On Wheels is confronted with a waitlist of over 900 people, underscoring the escalating need for community support.  

In the spirit of giving, this holiday season, let’s unite in making a meaningful impact on the lives of our aging neighbors.

Your support has the power to transform a solitary day into one brimming with nourishment and companionship. 

Discover more about our Meals on Wheels program, exploring the profound impact of this initiative in addressing the dual challenges of food insecurity and loneliness. Together, we can make this holiday season brighter for those in need. 

Celebrating National Family Caregiver Month – Honoring Unsung Heroes 🌟

Three people stand behind a desk with the Sound Generations logo on it

$600 billion

Money can’t buy the kind of care that family caregivers devote to their loved ones, from driving to appointments to managing medical claims to providing hands-on assistance. But if it could, a study by AARP notes that unpaid caregiving was valued at $600 billion in 2021. “Family caregivers are a scarce resource and should be protected and supported,” says Susan Reinhard of AARP. “If they walked off the job, we’d be $600 billion short.”

Who are these unsung heroes? How can we help them?

These are the questions that Caregiver Advocates like Kristen McFadden ask themselves. Kristen started working at Sound Generations in the Pathways Information & Assistance program and now works as a Caregiver Advocate in the Sound Generations’ Caregiver Support program. While singing the praises of both programs, Kristen especially loves being a Caregiver Advocate because it is less crisis-oriented; not only can she relax a bit more when talking to people, but she can help caregivers take a moment just to breathe and think.

Kristen feels grateful every time a busy caregiver takes the time to talk. She always asks about the challenges they are facing and how the Sound Generations team might be able to help. Kristen sees Sound Generations’ wraparound services as life changing. And that’s not program rhetoric; it was shared by at least one recent caregiver she worked with, who was connected to a helpful workshop, legal support, and respite services that provided her a few hours break from caregiving.

Despite the life-changing impact of wraparound services, Kristen notes that “just listening is the main thing,” which the other caregivers warmly agree with. Kristen also emphasizes her awe of her “impressive and inspiring” team members. Together, they work to remind caregivers that they matter and that we must take care of ourselves in order to care for others.

The Caregiving team currently has a backlog of 30-40 caregivers waiting to talk to advocates and/or receive counseling. These folks are willing to wait because the caregiver team doesn’t just provide referrals but will push to find ways to connect them to more services and do whatever they can to improve their caregiving journey.

Decluttering Delight: Transforming Spaces, Transforming Lives

Our Decluttering Program aims to support older adults in optimizing their indoor and outdoor living environments for improved accessibility and mobility. The program adopts a mindful approach and helps our older neighbors thoughtfully organize their accumulated belongings over the years, prioritizing the preservation of cherished items and ensuring their comfort and convenience in both their homes and yards.

a woman in a bright blue shirt stands in the midst of a brightly lit room surrounded by clothes.

The program’s success has led to an overflow of requests and a waitlist, showcasing the vital impact of this service. To keep the momentum going, we’re seeking your support to ensure that this transformative project continues to bring clarity and calm to even more lives.

Your Support Matters:  Join us in creating accessible, comfortable living spaces for older adults in our community

Vote YES on Prop 1: Veterans, Seniors & Human Services Levy

The Veterans, Seniors, and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) is up for renewed voter consideration in King County this August and our aging neighbors need our support more than ever right now. If the Levy is not approved, it will expire in December 2023. The Levy has funded a wide range of programs that support veterans, expand accessibility for older adults, and strengthen communities while building resilience through connections to senior centers, behavioral health treatment, and other services. 

Here are just a few examples of how Levy funds have allowed us to impact, nourish, and care for the well-being of our aging neighbors in King County: 

  • “Meals on Wheels has been a lifesaver to me. It gives me a house full of meals and has helped to give me a sense of safety in my life. Thank you.”
  • “My counselor helped me plan what I can do to head off anxiety. Taking better care of myself is key to dealing with my chronic pain & anxiety. I can now do things to better help myself every day.”
  • “I wouldn’t know all that I do now without Caregiver Support’s help and knowledge. Thank you for helping me even when I wasn’t sure what I needed before my mom’s condition turned worse.”

Aging With PRIDE!

Celebrate Queer Aging this Pride Month

According to a survey conducted by AARP in 2022, more than 80% of older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals expressed concerns about not having enough social support systems as they age. Across all subsegments of the LGBTQ community, people report being more isolated, less financially secure, and often without the same level of familial support as others who are not part of the queer community may have.  

Navigating healthcare looks different in the LGBTQ community, often due to affordability concerns. Many reported rationing medication doses, delaying getting a refill on a needed prescription, or forgoing a visit to a specialist they needed, all due to cost. When it comes to caregiving or receiving care, they also face challenges in being less likely to have the option of being cared for by adult children.  

Caregivers across the board often sacrifice their own health and quality of life for the sake of their loved ones. Most LGBTQ caregivers report feeling they had no choice in taking on their caregiver role, often with the person needing their care not accepting their identity, which creates additional strain on the caregiver’s wellbeing. 

Despite all the obstacles, the LGBTQ community remains resilient, and many still report leading satisfying lives, especially when they have a support network to lean on. Stable and supportive relationships among partners, friends, and chosen family not only make people happy overall, but contribute to one’s general wellbeing. And the state in which an LGBTQ person lives matters—it impacts how safe and protected they feel in their communities. Washington state is currently among the states where LGBTQ people report feeling most supported, but there is more work to be done in fighting for equality, elevating voices, and creating safe spaces for people to share their experiences. 

If you are part of a company, organization, or community group looking for ways to elevate and amplify your LGBTQ support, here are some suggestions made by AARP in their research conclusion: 

  • Listen to LGBTQ communities. Make an effort to listen to their stories, understand their experiences, and validate their concerns.  
  • Commit to DEI. Conduct ongoing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging training opportunities within workplaces or community groups.  
  • Talk about it! Share the concerns of the LGBTQ community openly on social media and other outlets.  
  • Be a corporate partner! Sponsor an LGBTQ community event. 

Join the PRIDE celebrations with our partner Senior Centers! 

  • On Thursday, June 15th, from 4-5:30 pm, the Senior Center of West Seattle is welcoming Mitchell C. Hunter of GenPride for a special “Celebrating the History of PRIDE Month” presentation, using personal storytelling to illustrate the diversity of LGBTQIA+ people and their experiences. You’ll learn the historical context of discrimination they have faced and the milestones and achievements they have celebrated. There will be a Q&A session following the presentation. Entry fee: $10. Advance RSVP requested; please call 206-932-4044. 
  • The Sno-Valley Senior Center is hosting a Pride Lunch on Tuesday, June 20th, along with a game of Pride Jeopardy. Just register at least one day in advance by calling 425-333-4152.