Executive Dow Constantine launched new investments that will enhance senior services in King County by offering more programs at existing senior centers and community organizations, expanding outreach to isolated seniors and connecting vulnerable seniors to community.
King County Executive Dow Constantine today announced investments of over $20.6 million to senior centers across the region that will offer a wide range of resources for older adults and their caregivers, expand outreach to isolated seniors, and create and enhance services reflecting the diversity of King County’s senior population.
Funding was made possible thanks to voter approval of the expanded Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy that, for the first time, includes funding dedicated to older adults and caregivers.
“King County is investing in programs specifically designed to improve the quality of life for our local seniors and their families,” said Executive Constantine. “Thanks to King County voters, we are making healthy aging a priority, and the support we’re providing for these senior centers will significantly increase access to services for older adults throughout the region.”
“These investments in services for King County seniors are unprecedented and reflect the generosity of, and commitment to our seniors by King County taxpayers,” said King County Council Chair Rod Dembowski. “I have seen the value that senior centers deliver first-hand, as my 90-year-old dad is a regular visitor for meals and dances at his local senior centers. These investments help ensure that our seniors have access to the services they have earned by their lifetime of contributions to our community and nation.”
The Department of Community and Human Services encouraged regional senior centers and other community groups to form collaborations or “hubs” to better reach specific demographics, or serve a defined geographic area or cultural group.
For example, three senior centers partnered together to use their collective expertise to serve Native American elders and isolated and home-bound seniors from diverse cultural groups by providing outreach, support, and opportunities for social engagement.
Twenty-eight senior centers successfully competed for a total of $19,480,000 throughout the region. They will form 14 hubs for targeted senior services around the region. Funding for the expanded programming and services will be allocated over the next four and-a-half years.
Additionally, 13 senior centers will receive $90,000 each in one-time funding to provide services or invest in minor capital or equipment purchases to better serve older adults in their communities.
As the number of adults age 55 and over continues to grow and become increasingly diverse, King County is stepping up to serve the cultural and geographic diversity of seniors and their caregivers, including veterans, servicemembers and their respective families.
Significant health risks accompany social isolation. Remaining socially engaged in community has many benefits, including better physical health and resistance to illness and disease; mental and cognitive health; and a sense of purpose and control and longevity.
Many seniors in King County experience or are at risk of experiencing social isolation because of few social supports, lack of nearby family and mobility issues that cause them to be home-bound. Seniors in some communities may be at particular risk of isolation, such as individuals who are part of an immigrant community, Native American elders, non- or limited- English speakers, individuals who identify as LGBTQ or seniors in rural areas who may be geographically isolated.
The investments announced today will focus on reaching seniors, age 55 and over, and their caregivers who have not traditionally benefited from the existing network of seniors centers in King County.