Welcome to the March 2009 Seniors Digest!
Greetings! February was such a busy month for the Advisory Council—topped off with a trip to Olympia for Senior Lobby Day. As you may recall from our last issue, advocates for older adults were invited to descend upon Olympia with a strong message for their legislators: Don't balance the budget on the backs of older adults. I was inspired by the energy and passion brought to the event by those who are working to protect Washington's vital programs serving older adults and people with disabilities.
February 17 was Senior Lobby Day in Olympia! ADS staff member Doug Ricker, Director of Aging and Disability Services Pamela Piering and Advisory Council member Silversity Madrazo helped deliver the message to legislators: preserve senior services! See below to learn more about Senior Lobby Day.*
In this issue….
- We take a look at an exciting new public housing resource for low-income seniors and people with disabilities, the Nia Apartments.
- Attention, animal lovers! On March 25, the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens is offering a free workshop for older adults who are looking for volunteer opportunities with pets.
- The Seattle Fire Department offers fire prevention tips for seniors and caregivers, and reminds us that some seniors can qualify for free smoke alarm installation.
- March is National Kidney Month, and Northwest Kidney Centers tells us that in most cases, kidney disease is preventable—and its progression can be halted.
- Learn how Washington communities and organizations are collaborating to reduce the risk of falls for seniors in our state.
- Mark your calendar for Generation BIG information sessions, Senior Lobby Day Part II, Community Safety for Older Adults, and more.
- "Staying Healthy in a Tough Economy" offers a convincing argument that cutting back on healthcare to save money can actually be a more expensive choice.
- Try your hand at the "Be a Stress Buster" wordfind puzzle!
For More Information….
See "Links You Can Use" for local websites that can direct you to services for seniors. And check out SeniorsDigest.org, our national companion website, which includes the new, improved Online Information Center, where you will find resources and information about issues of interest to older adults and their families.
We hope you will refer to our electronic pages often—to obtain advice, to learn of new and exciting services, and to offer us your constructive feedback.
Read Seniors Digest and tell us what you think. We are here to help.
Cathy VonWald, Chair
Seattle-King County Advisory Council
on Aging and Disability Services
* More About Senior Lobby Day
Senior Lobby Day participants included Advisory Council Member Kaylene Moon and Margaret Boddie from the Mayor's Council for African American Elders.
Advocates extraordinaire: ADS staff member Margaret Casey, and Advisory Council members Timmie Faghin and Barbara Hurst.
On February 17, I joined other members from the ADS Advisory Council and the Mayor's Council for African American Elders members to participate in "Senior Lobby Day." During this annual event in Olympia, hundreds of advocates from around the state delivered messages to their legislators about the need to preserve services for vulnerable adults during this difficult time.
We met with 23 legislators and handed out information packets to many more. Our goal was to deliver two key messages:
- Reserve all new Federal Medicaid match (FMAP) economic stimulus funding for long term care and health programs.
- Home and community-based services save money for the state over time. Protect Adult Day Health and homecare from harmful cuts and shifts. To underscore this point, each Senator and Representative received a fortune cookie with the message "Home and community based services—saving a fortune."
Participants heard somber warnings on the state of Washington's economy and budget, but were heartened to find many of their legislators supportive of their concerns.
There is still a long road to travel this session, and the outlook for key programs remains uncertain. Advisory Council and Mayor's Council for African American Elders members will have another opportunity to speak to their legislators on March 25, when the Washington Association for Area Agencies on Aging holds its lobby day in Olympia.