Celebrate the Power of Community Connections this Older Americans Month

Older asian man smiling, sitting in front of book shelves

It’s Older Americans Month, and this year’s theme is “Aging Unbound.” Every May, Older Americans Month gives us an opportunity to celebrate diverse aging experiences and challenge the stereotypical narratives around what aging is “supposed” to look like. Sound Generations is proud to uphold our commitment to fostering communities that engage and support older adults in aging vibrantly in their own unique ways. 

Partnering with other organizations and community centers that cater to the range of cultural groups and populations in King County is one way that Sound Generations upholds our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our food security services have been working in partnership with institutions like the Kawabe Memorial House to ensure that aging adults of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds have access to meals that meet their unique nutritional needs. The Kawabe Memorial House is a senior living facility and community center in the Central District, offering a suite of programs and services catered to local Koran and Japanese individuals. Community Dining chefs at Kawabe serve a menu of traditional cuisines for the center residents and visitors to enjoy. 



Gordon Sata has participated in the Community Dining program at Kawabe for several years and frequently enjoys many traditional Japanese dishes that he had growing up. Among his favorite dishes that the chefs prepare are saba, barazushi, and fried oysters. In speaking about these dishes, Gordon reminisces about times growing up when he would help his mother prepare these traditional meals.

“There is so much chopping of vegetables and things. They were really yummy to eat, but always a lot of work.” 

The responses of participants like Gordon reflect the effort to connect with diverse aging communities through cultural cuisine. Creating opportunities to engage and foster familiar experiences that make people feel at home is just one small way to have a big impact on the lives of older adults. We are committed to embracing all ways of aging and aim to act in partnership with communities by providing accessible and inclusive services as they age.  

When older adults are engaged and supported, the whole community benefits. That is why we are committed to reframing the narrative of aging, and you can help! Donate to any of our supportive programs or join us at our next event in June! The Inspire Positive Aging Awards luncheon is a time to recognize older adults who continue to make an impact in their communities across categories in Advocacy & Activism, Community Service, Defining Inspiration, Health & Wellness, Intergenerational Impact, and Lifelong Learning. 

Community partnerships like the Kawabe Memorial House allow Sound Generations to expand and strengthen our network of support for older adults seeking opportunities to create positive human connections. When aging communities are supported, everyone benefits. You can help us continue to serve our mission of empowering older adults to age their way. Make a gift today and embrace aging unbound with us! 



Providing Access and Peace of Mind: A VTS Driver Story

Brown-haired woman with older man wearing hat

Kelly Lake has been a volunteer driver for Sound Generations’ Volunteer Transportation program since 2018.  

“I moved to Washington from Northern California, where my family lives. My dad had developed dementia, and because my sister still lived in California where he is, a lot of his caretaking fell to her. She often had to drive him to medical appointments and getting him was a challenge because she had to go well out of her way to pick him up and had to take time away from work to do so. I started looking into ride programs in California and learning about those, to see if there was help available to support my sister in alleviating some of the burden of caring for my dad.” 

Kelly wondered if there was some way she could help others in Washington facing a similar situation. If she couldn’t be there to help her sister in caring for their dad, maybe she could help those in Washington who needed a ride. That’s how she found Volunteer Transportation.  

“I love to drive, I love meet people, and I was in a position where I had the time to volunteer.” 

After being a volunteer driver for over a year, Kelly was assigned a ride that hit very close to home when the contact person for the ride turned out to be the daughter of the participant, and it was the first time her dad would be using the service.  

“She was cautious and nervous about the safety of her dad. I called and we talked a little bit, and it turned out she was in the same situation as my sister had been in with my own dad. I was able to reassure her because of my own experience. That was a direct connection between my own story and the program, and the impact it has on other people.” 

Kelly is highly regarded among the Volunteer Transportation staff for her commitment to helping support the service and the aging community. She loves the flexibility of being able to set her own volunteer hours, and to decide what parts of the city and surrounding areas she feels most familiar and comfortable driving in.  

“Hearing the stories from the senior participants is was keeps me motivated to continue volunteering. They are always so grateful and humbled to have this service. It is a joyful opportunity that I feel privileged to do.” 

Sound Generations offers many opportunities to volunteer across our pillars of service and support positive aging in communities across King County.  

Building Community Through Food

building community through food

Spending time with others through cooking and shared meals is a universal way that we foster community and connection with each other, no matter who we are or where we come from. 

In honor of March being Women’s History Month as well as Nutrition Month, we wanted to recognize the women chefs and cooks who support the dining programs that foster health and connection among older adults in their communities.

Hayla Thompson has been working at Margie’s Café for the last year, serving healthy and delicious food to patrons of the Senior Center of West Seattle. Hayla is a self-taught cook and has utilized a lot of creativity to develop healthy and flavorful meals around multiple dietary restrictions.  

“I cook a lot of vegan things, and I make sure there are vegetarian and vegan options every day. I want people to come in knowing they can eat a meal that fits their needs and doesn’t feel like an afterthought. I want people who are vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-intolerant to know that there is food there for them.” 

Before working in the café, Hayla was a volunteer with Community Dining and is continuously inspired by the creativity of food and by ingredients from different cultural cuisines.  

While she hasn’t had a lot of experience working in commercial kitchens, Hayla is aware of the gender disparity that exists for women chefs and is grateful that er own experience has been overwhelmingly positive at the Senior Center of West Seattle. “They are great about fostering a safe environment, and there is no room for bad attitudes. Everyone is respectful.” 

Hayla’s goal for the future is to become a Community Dining chef and to continue carrying out the positive culture and goal of putting out good meals every day with a lot of love and kindness. 

Time is Running Out to Nominate for IPAA!

Last year, Celia Austria won the Advocacy & Activism Inspire Positive Aging Award for her continued dedication to advocacy of expanding mental health support for aging communities. Celia has spent her whole life working toward equality in every community she is in: her Filipino community, her local assisted living community, and the general community of aging adults who could benefit from additional mental health support. Celia is the President of the Park Place Resident Resource Group and has a background in psychology. She has offered free counseling sessions to her peers and hosts monthly Resident Resource Group meetings to raise awareness and advocate for more robust mental health services. Celia has gone well beyond her living community, lobbying for more funding for assisted living communities at the state level. She is a hard-working, kind-hearted, and spirited individual who values family and service to others above all else. She stresses the importance of remaining understanding and kind, even to those who may disagree or have differing opinions.  

IPAA Nominations are open NOW through March 15th! The categories include:  

Advocacy & Activism 

Defining Inspiration 

Community Service 

Health & Wellness 

Intergenerational Impact 

Lifelong Learning 


If you know someone like Celia who is continuing to inspire positive change in the community as an older adult, show your appreciation and nominate them for the Inspire Positive Aging Awards! 

Introducing our Updated Mission & Vision Statements

Throughout 2022, the organization dedicated time and energy to collectively analyze our mission and how we talk about the work we are doing for the aging community. With diversity, equity, and inclusion at the forefront of our minds, we created a Mission & Vision that is grounded in our new values to be service-minded, foster community, uphold DEI, lead with compassion, embrace collaboration, and act with integrity. 

We are delighted to share our updated Mission & Vision with you. 

Our mission is to partner with older adults to provide accessible and inclusive services so they can age their way.

We envision a responsive, multigenerational community that recognizes and fulfills the diverse and changing needs of everyone as we age.

Your dedication to helping us carry this work forward through service delivery to aging adults in 2023 is needed now more than ever.  With your help, we feel confident in our vision of a society where aging is vibrant, supported, and appreciated. 

Support our cause today at https://fundraise.givesmart.com/f/1o3y/n?vid=wthfq 

Reflecting on 2022 & Looking Ahead to a Bright New Year

Beautiful healthy woman in her 80's

As we reflect on 2022, our hearts are filled with so much gratitude. Thank YOU for helping Sound Generations continue to fill in the gaps for older adults in your community. Because of your support last year, our programs were able to continue operating and setting new records of service despite the additional challenges of rising costs across the board due to economic inflation.

Our Meals on Wheels program served over 500,000 in 2022, the highest number of meals ever served over the course of one year. Both of our transportation programs also saw dramatic increases in ridership, which came along with significant increases in program costs due to the surge of gas prices throughout the summer. Despite these additional challenges, there were some notable expansions within program services that allowed us to make a wider and more meaningful impact for older adults in the greater Seattle area.

Community Food Bags, a short-term program that operated in conjunction with Community Dining and the affiliate meal sites, filled in the gaps of serving diverse groups with unique nutritional needs. Hyde Shuttle expanded to the eastside with a pilot program serving Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond. Project Enhance has continued to have a wider reach as well with their expansion of virtual program options for health and wellness classes.

With a growing number of older adult residents in King County and the ongoing challenges navigating economic impact and ongoing pandemic, the need for Sound Generations services is only becoming greater. We are committed to keeping our aging communities safe and healthy while fostering a support network that allows them to maintain as much autonomy as possible, living vibrant and fulfilling lives.

None of what we accomplished in 2022 would have been possible without you. So again, thank you for your commitment to changing the narrative around aging with us. We hope that you will continue the journey of support with us in 2023.

Older Adults are Grateful for Meals on Wheels

Senior couple on their 70s wearing a protective face mask picking up the shopping box that granddaughter is delivering in times of COVID-19, she is wearing mask and gloves.

Over this past year, inflation in the greater Seattle area has skyrocketed to over 10% (source: https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/news-release/consumerpriceindex_seattle.htm) and older adults living on low or fixed incomes are among the hardest hit groups in our communities.  

The rising costs of both groceries and transportation make the barrier between aging communities and access to regular, nutritious meals that much harder to overcome without help. For decades, Meals on Wheels has been a service that older adults and adults with disabilities can depend on, disrupting food insecurity by delivering ready-made meals right to their door. 

But Meals on Wheels has also been affected by the soaring inflation rate, and continuing to offer service throughout King County is significantly more expensive than it was in 2021, with the average cost of service rising from $10 per meal to $12 per meal. And Meals on Wheels has provided over 425,000 meals so far this year! 

Food Security is among the most fundamental essential needs for all of us, but now is the time to step in where we can and help ensure that our aging neighbors can continue to be fed and healthy amidst all of the economic challenges and uncertainty. 

There are 3 disabled people in this household. Ages 97, 68, and 22.  
Social Security is our only income.  
Meals on Wheels allows us to stay in our home.

Anonymous Meals on Wheels Client