Program: Volunteer Transportation Location: Federal Way Duration: Ongoing Group or Individual: Individual Kid Friendly: Yes Summary: Change lives by giving rides! Drive seniors to and from their important medical appointments.
Description: Help older adults get to their important and life-sustaining medical appointments. Using your own vehicle, you would drive seniors to their appointments, wait for them, and return them home, providing friendly companionship for the round trip. This flexible opportunity allows you to choose which days, times, frequency, and areas you wish to serve. You may also change your availability weekly. Our program staff will happily work to accommodate your schedule. Take a turn in the right direction, become a volunteer driver today!
Requirements: Volunteers must have a valid Washington State driver’s license and auto insurance, a reliable vehicle, no moving violations in the past two years, ability to pass a criminal background check, and some weekday availability.
Aging gracefully is something that we all want to achieve.
We all deserve a just society where aging adults and those who care about them can lead their best lives. Now is YOUR CHANCE to give back to someone who has given so much to their community, and ensure that they have the same experience you would hope for yourself.
How You Can Help
Check out givebig2019.org/soundgen and help us spread the word via social media, email, and word of mouth! Click on the “Fundraise button, create a profile, and set up a fundraising campaign for Sound Generations. Challenge your family and friends to support King County’s seniors!
EARLY GIVING 4/23 – 5/7.
Remove the pressure of remembering to make a gift on our official GiveBIG 2019 day, May 8. Mark your calendars! Starting April 23rd until May 7th, you can help us kick off a fantastic start by scheduling your gift to be applied on May 8.
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.
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.
On June 20, 2018, Sound Generations celebrated our 13th Annual Inspire Positive Aging Awards by recognizing 49 inspirational older adults from diverse communities throughout King County. This event brought together nearly 300 guests thanks to the generosity of our sponsors: Regence, Premera Blue Cross, Azose Commercial Properties, Swedish, Aegis Living, and the Biella Foundation.
Six Award Recipients were acknowledged for their exceptional contributions:
Advocacy + activism
Hilke Faber, 74, is a role model for all ages and a tireless advocate for older adults. As a retired registered nurse who served as Washington’s first nursing home ombudsman, she led statewide and national legislation reforms for nursing home regulations. Her advocacy efforts led to the establishment of Bill of Rights for nursing home residents in Washington, and she created resident councils in King County’s senior living communities to provide a channel of communication between residents and home administrators. Her passion for advocacy and service has helped those around her see nursing home residents in a new light – as autonomous, dignified people capable of advocating for themselves regardless of their age and health.
Jemanesh Demisse, 72, is dedicated to helping the underserved elders in King County’s East African community. She has been working with the East African Senior Meals Program at the Yesler Community Center for over eight years, preparing nutritious and culturally relevant meals for over 50 elders each Thursday and Saturday. She has demonstrated leadership by actively recruiting volunteers for the meals program and Rainer Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands, and she is not afraid to go out of her way to assist a community member. She is the first to first to fundraise when someone is in need, the first to visit a community member in the hospital, and cheers on the younger generation at graduation ceremonies. Despite her recent health challenges her dedication to her community is unwavering. Her nominator said, “Jemanesh has a heart of gold… [She] taught me that one can be humble and give without the expectation of getting anything in return.”
Natalia Mendez, 76, inspires people who know her with her positivity and selflessness. Natalia emigrated from Pueblo, Mexico to Yakima when she was 34, where she raised four children on her own and was known in the community for bringing meals to less fortunate families. She continues to embody this spirit of kindness today, spending hours each week preparing delicious Mexican food to share with SeaMar’s Lake City Latino Senior Group. Even though she struggles with chronic pain after a car accident, she remains active physically and is always willing to try new activities like yoga and dancing. At an event celebrating the independence days of Latin American countries last year, Natalia sang a song from Mexico in front of the lunch crowd. Her nominator described her voice as “soulful, strong, and inspiring” – just like Natalia herself.
Health & wellness
Merle Fister, 97, exemplifies healthy aging through his determination to stay physically and mentally fit. He begins each day with calisthenics and a half mile walk, before joining other residents for a daily group exercise class. Recognizing that loneliness and isolation negatively impact people’s health, Merle always makes sure to greet new members of his retirement community to make them feel welcome and involved. He helps others with computer and cell phone problems and follows news reports to stay current on world events. Those who know Merle describe him as loving and optimistic, and they appreciate him for demonstrating the power of positive thinking, the importance of an active lifestyle, and the healing power of laughter and a joke, even if it’s a bad one.
Dianne Hansen, 71, was honored for her ‘Intergenerational Impact’. Dianne is admired for her work as a volunteer tutor and piano teacher in her community. She generously devotes her time to tutoring young children at the Shoreline Public Library, and through the SWEL Timebank discovered her passion for teaching piano lessons. This inspired Dianne to offer free piano lessons to children whose families couldn’t afford private lessons. Dianne also purchased keyboards and music books that she’d loan to students so they could practice at home. She now devotes time to her 12 young piano students but still finds time to dedicate to other causes, including piano lessons for retiree and working mother students, general tutoring, teaching ESL classes, and sewing classes. Her patience, compassion and enthusiasm is infectious, and she is an inspiration to all who know her.
Ray Bradley, 65, an active member of Central Area Senior Center’s Food, Nutrition, Health and Wellness Workshop Series, brings encouragement and joy to everyone he meets. An intelligent and curious man, Ray loves learning and always participates and assists in any way he can. He asks questions for every presenter and topic, and he is always enthusiastic when he is asked to help with a demonstration in class. Ray keeps a positive attitude during classes, and his humor good cheer helps other participants to do the same. Outside the classes, Ray also teaches a computer classes to CASC members every Wednesday. His nominator said, “One need not ask for [Ray’s] help – if he sees a need, he is on it. If he determines a better way exists to solve or resolve a concern, he offers his ideas immediately.”
If you didn’t get a chance to nominate someone you know, you’ll have another opportunity to submit a nomination next year. We hope to see you at the 2019 IPAA celebration!
We’ve raised $36,826.64 so far, which leaves us less than $3,174 away from our $40,000 goal!
A big heartfelt thank you to those who have already donated online or mailed in a check during our month long campaign. Your donations make such a huge difference in the lives of vulnerable King County seniors and adults with disabilities.
If you have not already made a donation, please consider helping us reach the finish line. Every donation, big or small, makes a lasting impact.
The 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.
Self-Care, Stress Reduction, Caregiver Resources
IDIC – 7301 Beacon Avenue S., Seattle, 98118
Skin Cancer Awareness
Greenwood Senior Center – 525 N. 85th St, Seattle, 98103