“Mobility For All” Transportation Summits

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Two “Mobility for All” Transportation Summits held on October 23 and November 3, engaged the creative talents of seniors and persons with disabilities as well as drivers, dispatchers, managers and transportation planners from all over King County. Over one hundred and twenty persons, including Sound Generations customers and staff, participated including our own CEO Jim Wigfall.

The Summits, organized by the King County Mobility Coalition, of which Sound Generations is a partner, focused on “bold Ideas” for improving the front-end experience of finding and securing transportation for special needs populations. Facilitated by Mark Smutny, Hyde Shuttles Operations Manager, using a World Café format, the Summits identified the need to communicate about available transportation services in multiple languages and the need to embrace new technologies that enable better, same-day customer service, among other key goals.

The Summits were one part of an ongoing effort of Sound Generations, the King County Mobility Coalition and other paratransit providers to strengthen transportation solutions for seniors and persons with disabilities throughout our area.

For more information about the Summits, contact Mark Smutny at marks@soundgenerations.org or Rachel Lanera at rachell@soundgenerations.org.


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The Challenge of Senior Hunger

Photo credit: northhelpline.org

Excerpt from northhelpline.org
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.

Read more…


The Challenge of Senior Hunger

Congratulations! Four Community Partner Sites Win Awards by Mayor Durkan

A special congratulations to our four amazing Community Partner Sites – Ballard NW Senior Center, Central Area Senior Center, Lake City Seniors, and the Senior Center of West Seattle on their award! We’d also like to extend our congrats to the twelve nonprofit Centers who were also recipients of Mayor Jenny A. Durkan’s award. Keep up the great work!

News Release From The Office of The Mayor:

Mayor Durkan Announces $1.7 Million in Senior Center Awards

Seattle (September 7) – At visits to Sound Generations Lake City/Northgate Senior Center and the International Drop-In Center on Beacon Hill, Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced $1.7 million in awards for senior centers that contribute to the health, well-being, and independence of Seattle’s older adults.

“As our City grows less affordable, we must continue to invest in our most vulnerable residents, including our senior community. Our older neighbors are an asset to our community and a vital part of the fabric of our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our senior centers provide opportunities for volunteerism, lifelong learning, transportation, and healthy meals. These investments will help our neighbors live longer and enhance their quality of life.”

Twelve nonprofit centers across Seattle will receive awards ranging from $67,000 to $180,000 in 2019, including:

·        Asian Counseling and Referral Service

·        Chinese Information and Service Center

·        International Drop-In Center

·        Greenwood Senior Center (operated by the Phinney Neighborhood Association)

·        Pike Market Senior Center

·        South Park Senior Center

·        Southeast Seattle Senior Center

·        Wallingford Community Senior Center

And four programs operated by Sound Generations:

·        Ballard Senior Center

·        Central Area Senior Center

·        Lake City/Northgate

·        Senior Center of West Seattle

“HSD has developed a results-driven investment model that helps ensure that the department’s work is making a real difference in the lives of vulnerable people, addressing community disparities, and investing in what works,” said Jason Johnson, Interim Director of the Human Services Department. “These centers provide high-quality, cost-effective programs. They reach out to older people who may be socially or culturally isolated and they build a real sense of community.”

The Seattle Human Services Department recommended the senior center awards from the City’s General Fund. Its Aging and Disability Services division reviewed center proposals and made final decisions based on recommendations from a community-based review committee, the geographic location of the center, and the opportunity to serve populations with higher health disparities and/or lower social and emotional support, particularly Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American older adults.

Several studies show the connection between social engagement, quality of life, and longevity. AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect lists numerous risk factors for older adults, including diminishing social networks, fewer transportation options, changing roles, and living alone. Social and civic participation and community support are among the goals of the City of Seattle’s Age Friendly Seattle action plan.

For senior center locations, more information about local programs and services for older adults, or answers to questions about aging issues, call Community Living Connections toll-free at 844-348-5464.

Sharing is Caring. Come Join Us for Lunch and Learn.

Community Dining PhotoThe Swedish Cancer Institute has partnered with Sound Generations to offer a pilot program aimed at providing nutritional and lifestyle tips to stay healthy and reduce one’s risk of cancer. This monthly education series in
conjunction with a community dining model is intended to bring together community members, cancer patients and survivors, and caregivers in a welcoming environment. Participants gain connection and support, health education to stimulate healing, and ways to improve overall health. Older adults tell us time and time again, “We want to eat healthy but, it’s too expensive!” When you add on the burden of fighting a chronic illness, eating a healthy meal is not a top concern.

According to research, this pilot program couldn’t have come at a better time. More than one in ten (11.65%) Washington State seniors face the threat of hunger. Food insecure older adults take in fewer critical vitamins and minerals and are more likely to get sick and be in poorer health. Thanks to Swedish Medical Center’s support and yours, we enable diners to socialize with peers in a group setting, reducing isolation and depression, and improving clients’ quality of life beyond the nutritious meal served. See remaining dates and topics below. Come join us for lunch and learn.

6/8/2018Self-Care, Stress Reduction, Caregiver ResourcesIDIC – 7301 Beacon Avenue S., Seattle, 98118
7/13/2018Skin Cancer AwarenessGreenwood Senior Center – 525 N. 85th St, Seattle, 98103
8/10/2018Colorectal Cancer AwarenessShoreline Senior Center- 18560 1st Ave NE, Shoreline, 98155
9/7/2018Common Cancer Myths & MisconceptionsBallard NW Senior Center- 5429 32nd Ave NW, Seattle, 98107
10/12/2018Liver Screening AwarenessKawabe Memorial House – 221 18th Ave S, Seattle, 98144
11/6/2018Lung Cancer Screening AwarenessSouth Park Senior Center- 8201 10th Ave S, Seattle, 98108
12/7/2018Self-Care, Stress Reduction, Caregiver ResourcesRenton Senior Activity Center – 211 Burnett Ave N, Renton, 98057