Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation’s observance of Older Americans Month (OAM). This year’s theme, Aging Unbound, offers an opportunity to explore a range of aging experiences and to promote connections that help older adults remain engaged with their communities.
While many people find fulfillment in paving their own paths as they age, even the most independently-minded elder can benefit from services and supports offered by communities of their choice.
Here in King County the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy (VSHSL) invests in strategies and programs that strengthen the network of support for older adults, providing economic, environmental and service system supports through programs that value diverse experiences and help older adults self-determine their aging journey. VSHSL senior serving programs recognize the geographically and culturally diverse needs of seniors in King County. Three such programs include:
Recognized resource centers on aging
Seniors Hubs, or senior centers partnered to best serve King County’s older adults, operate as recognized resource centers on aging services and provide support, outreach, connection, and opportunities for social engagement to elders throughout King County. Thirty-nine senior centers connected with one another through the formation of 22 geographic, and/or culturally specific hubs, are spread throughout King County in order to provide seniors in rural or metropolitan areas, suburban cities or unincorporated parts of the County opportunities to engage with their communities and access expertise on issues facing older adults. Programs offered at Senior Hubs promote physical and emotional health, foster well-being, combat social isolation and strengthen connection to community. To find programs and services in your community view a list of Senior Hubs here.
Mobile medical outreach
The Senior Mobile Medical Outreach (SMMO) team, operated by POCAAN, provides health care to older adults who are otherwise not connected to traditional medical systems. The outreach team consists of two mobile units staffed by multi-disciplinary clinical and resource navigation professionals. The SMMO team provides on-board services, partners with senior centers to set up temporary clinics, and travels to low-income senior housing sites and community events to provide foot care, health assessments, and information about nutrition and chronic disease self-management. Learn more about the Senior Mobile Medical Outreach team.
Evidence-based health promotion
Senior health promotion programs deliver evidence-based and evidence-informed programming that help older adults learn how to improve and maintain their health and encourages them to engage in healthy activities. Programs have proven effective for addressing specific health issues such as falls prevention, chronic disease, medication management, and physical activity. Course curricula often include formal instructor training and community-designed course models developed specifically for the older adult community. Programs in King County prioritize culturally relevant services to senior communities of color that have historically experienced health disparities. Search for senior health promotion programs here.
Older Americans Month
King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a proclamation acknowledging the important role older adults play in our community and the responsibility we have to ensure that older adults from all backgrounds can age healthfully on a path they choose. Executive Constantine proclaimed the month of May 2023 to be Older Americans Month.