The Challenge of Senior Hunger

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Excerpt from
August 3, 2018

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it can be easy to lose sight of just how many seniors there are in our community.  Many of them live on fixed incomes and in affordable housing. Due to their age, seniors often have high cost health care among other expenses.  At North Helpline, we are committed to looking out for everyone in our community, and we feel that it is especially important to think of our seniors, who are too often overlooked.

There is a particularly high percentage of seniors living in Bitter Lake.  According to 2018 data from the City of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods, 22.2% of the population in Bitter Lake is 65 or over.  Compared to 7% in Aurora Licton Springs, 14% in Northgate, and 13% in Lake City. We see first hand how important the Bitter Lake food bank is to our neighbors who are aging.

One thing seniors should not have to worry about is going hungry.  Unfortunately, senior hunger is all too real. Our executive director Kelly Brown never loses sight of this fact.  As she builds coalitions with partnering agencies to best serve our neighbors in greater North Seattle, part of the conversation is on how to help people who are aging to advocate for themselves.

According to Kelly, “baby boomers are the fastest growing population in the food security world.  We have been anticipating as best as we can an increased number of seniors living on fixed incomes needing to access food.  As the baby boomer generation ages and plans for retirement, they discover it does not always go as anticipated, and living on a fixed income doesn’t keep up with the expense of the city.”

We spoke with Rachael (pictured above), a senior who lives in affordable housing close to the Bitter Lake food bank.  Rachael said, “It shouldn’t have to be a choice between rent and food, or healthcare and food, or a place to live.  I get frustrated, and I want people to know that if you can help us just a little bit, then we can help ourselves and we can help others.”

Rachael asked to share her story in order to raise awareness not just about senior hunger, but also to destigmatize perceptions about people who are experiencing homelessness.  Rachael is a fighter, and she herself was homeless at one point. During the economic downturn, she lost most of her income and was evicted. Rachael lived in temporary housing until she found a permanent home.  Due to her age, it was hard to find a new job. Rachael had complicated health problems, and her application for disability was approved on the first try.  She never gave up despite the many challenges she faced.

Sadly, due the affordable housing crisis seniors like Rachael do not always know where their next meal is coming from.   Many seniors are one crisis away from falling on hard times, and there is a cascading effect of losing housing, piling up seemingly insurmountable health care costs, and struggling to have enough food to eat.

In addition to North Helpline’s two food banks and the emergency services we offer, other organizations are looking out for seniors a well.  For example, we caught up with Akira Ohiso who works at Sound Generations in Lake City. He works with older adults who are experiencing homelessness or are close to it.  Together with Hunger Intervention Program, Sound Generations provides meals at Lake City Community Center including lunch and to-go meals.

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The Challenge of Senior Hunger

Sound Generations Sponsoring Senior Matters 2018 Conference

Reinvent Your Retirement Plan at the Senior Matters Conference

Keynote Speaker Kerri Kasem

Join Sound Generations at Senior Matters 2018! If you are aging or serving the aging population, Senior Matters is a conference you do not want to miss. Senior Matters explores the pitfalls of traditional estate planning, and provides easy-to-implement solutions. Professionals learn how to retool their services to offer more comprehensive retirement planning. Consumers gain tips on advocating for more holistic retirement planning for themselves.

Register now and get on a path to retirement planning that matters!

The keynote speaker is Kerri Kasem, a multimedia personality, producer, and writer who has anchored music, talk, and entertainment programs for radio and television. Her father, America’s Top 40 DJ Casey Kasem, was unable to realize one of the most basic hopes many of us have in life—to be able to live out his life in his own home—despite having an $80+ million estate. Kerri will share what went wrong and how planning differently can help older adults avoid the same outcome.

The conference provides a rare opportunity for direct access and breakout brainstorming, and endless opportunities for beneficial interaction. Attendees can choose from 12 workshops and visit over 20 exhibitors with resource information about products and services that assist older adults in Washington state. Workshops will include:

  • Preventative Care
  • Aging in Place
  • Am I Ready to Retire?
  • Elder Planning not Estate Planning
  • Unusual Retirement Planning Strategies
  • My Wife Has Been Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
  • Social Security Tricks
  • Medicare, Medicaid & VA
  • Retirement Communities
  • When Things Go Wrong
  • Geriatrics
  • Dealing with Long Term Care Costs: Insurance & Reverse Mortgages

Friday, September 7 & Saturday, September 8, 2018
Lynnwood Convention Center
3711 196th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98036

Keynote Speaker: Mike Holmgren (Day1) and Kerri Kasem (Day 2)
Tickets (includes parking & lunch):
Day 1 –
Professionals who work with seniors – $100 with coupon code SOUND100
Day 2 – General Public $25 for two attendees with coupon code SOUND25

More Info at