King County Thanks Senior Centers and Partners

Every May, the Administration for Community Living leads the United States’ observance of Older Americans Month. The theme for 2021 is “Communities of Strength.” Older adults have built resilience and strength over their lives through successes, failures, joys and difficulties. Their stories and contributions help to support and inspire others. This Older Americans Month we celebrate the strength of older adults, acknowledging the power of connection and engagement in building strong communities. To honor older adults in a way unique to the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) we will be sharing content, highlighting partners and bringing awareness to the work being done to support older adults right here in King County. Read below for our final blog this month celebrating Older Americans Month.

This past year the landscape in King County and across the world has been unprecedented. Community mattered more than ever before as we needed each other during these stressful times, especially seniors in our community who often experience social isolation without the additional threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many seniors in King County experience social isolation because of few social supports, lack of nearby family and mobility issues that cause them to be home-bound. The need to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect people at higher risk for severe COVID-19 changed the way we all lived in 2020 and created access challenges for seniors who relied on the services that became more difficult to access as the world shut down.

King County’s senior centers and senior serving providers responded quickly, playing a critical role in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning services to virtual formats, continuing to provide critical supports, finding new ways to make sure homebound seniors were not isolated, providing services so seniors could stay safe at home and making sure seniors had the information they needed about COVID-19, including distributing a Stay Safe at Home newsletter in multiple languages to provide essential health and safety information to seniors.

In honor of Older Americans Month and in recognition of the difference King County’s senior centers have made in the lives of older adults in King County, especially during this past year, King County’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) thanks King County’s senior centers and partnering organizations!

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, senior centers partner agencies met frequently to coordinate services, share resources and ensure King County’s seniors were being supported. The King County Department of Community and Human Services the group acknowledged with a certificate of appreciation on Thursday May 27, 2021 for all of their efforts supporting seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The certificates were presented by Leo Flor, Director of DCHS. Watch the presentation here.

Supporting seniors through the COVID-19 pandemic

To senior center leaders and your teams, DCHS offers our considered appreciation for the profound ways in which you have enhanced your services despite the need to limit access to your buildings in order to keep your members safe. Though your doors have been closed, your programs have not and you have found creative ways to continue serving during these unprecedented times. From coordinating critical food access, helping seniors navigate resources and pooling efforts to host COVID-19 virus education and vaccine events to offering social connection, you have made a significant difference in the lives of many older adults in King County.

Thank you from King County’s seniors

King County’s seniors say it best themselves:

“I want to thank you and your staff for the unselfish work and services you have provided for months on end since the beginning of the pandemic. Not only are groceries, supplies, meals delivered to seniors but with a warm, caring, friendly manner. This personal contact is an added layer of emotional support for those folks who maybe housebound, lonely, without family or friends. And thank you to the Chef and his staff for providing countless of healthy meals each week to us. We eat every bite.”

(from a virtual karaoke participant) “I always dream to have my picture in a poster as a singer and now you did that for me, I felt like I am a real famous singer in the community, I am very happy, I wish my 99 years old mother still alive so she could see this poster and hear me sing in a group.”

(from a senior who received tech devices and support) “It means the world to me to see my grandkids’ faces and hear about the little things that happen in their days. Thank you for getting me back to the table.”

“(We are) active participants in several of the zoom-based activities and feel that we have made friends even though we have met none of them in person. That delightful prospect still lies ahead for us.”

“My wife has had to live in a rehabilitation center for the past seven years which has been really hard.  Worse this last year with the COVID pandemic which limited or stopped visitation and has been horrible.  This webinar lifted my spirit because I was able to talk to others that are going through the same kind of pain, even if it is for a different reason.  Sharing with others is healing.  I did learn something new about dementia at the webinar, dementia can have an affect on other physical attributes such as sight.  I will now be ever so mindful of that the next opportunity I get to talk with my wife face-to-face. Thank you for the webinar!“

“I feel that I’ve benefited mentally and emotionally during this difficult time, as we’ve laughed, cried, and shared many personal feelings and stories.”

Thank you to King County’s senior centers and our partnering agencies:

  • Asian Counseling and Referral Service
  • Auburn Senior Activity Center
  • Black Diamond Community Center
  • Central Area Senior Center
  • Chinese Information and Service Center
  • City of Bellevue – North Bellevue Community Center
  • City of Burien – Burien Community Center
  • City of Enumclaw – Senior Center
  • City of Issaquah – Senior Center
  • City of Kent – Senior Activity Center
  • City of Pacific – Senior Center
  • City of SeaTac – Senior Programs
  • City of Tukwila – Senior Center
  • Des Moines/Normandy Park Senior Activity Center
  • El Centro de la Raza
  • Federal Way Senior Center
  • Filipino Community of Seattle
  • Generations Aging with Pride
  • Greater Maple Valley Community Center
  • Greenwood Senior Center – Phinney Neighborhood Assoc.
  • India Association of Western Washington/India Community Services
  • International Drop-In Center
  • Korean Women’s Association
  • Mt. Si Senior Center
  • Northshore Senior Center
  • Peter Kirk Community Center
  • Pike Market Senior Center
  • Renton Senior Activity Center
  • Sound Generations:
    • Ballard NW Senior Center
    • Lake City-Northgate Senior Center Project
    • Senior Center of West Seattle
    • Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center
    • Sno-Valley Senior Center
    • South Park Senior Center
    • SouthEast Seattle Senior Center
  • United Indians of All Tribes Foundation
  • UW AgePRIDE Center
  • Vashon-Maury Senior Center
  • Wallingford Community Senior Center
  • People Of Color Against AIDS Network
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County
  • City of Seattle – Aging & Disability Services

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