Welcome to the May 2009 Seniors Digest!
May is Older Americans Month, when we celebrate the accomplishments of senior Americans, as well as calling attention to the issues that affect older adults and their quality of life.
King County Kinship Collaboration member Opal Hopper (right) congratulates Indiana Allen (left), who was recently honored for her volunteer efforts on behalf of kinship families. See below to learn more about Kinship Caregiver support in King County.*
This goal is especially relevant this month, as the Advisory Council and other senior advocates continue to work to reduce cuts to programs that serve older adults. We would like to give you an update on the recent budget cuts in four areas:
Adult Day Health. The final state budget included significant cuts to this service area—in effect, a 70% reduction. The budget also eliminated funding for client transportation.
Senior Citizens Services Act (SCSA). The final budget proposed a $284,000 cut from SCSA administration. There will be no direct service cuts. The SCSA supports a variety of programs such as Information and Assistance, discretionary Case Management, and nutrition services.
Medicaid Home Care Services. The Senate cuts all Medicaid clients' personal care hours by an approximate 4% average.
Agency-Paid Family Home Care Providers. The final budget restricts relative care providers from working for home care agencies. These Medicaid-funded caregivers will need to be contracted as "Independent Providers" in order to continue to be paid to serve family members.
We will continue to keep you advised on efforts to preserve senior support programs.
This month we also focus on local agencies that support grandparents and other relatives who are raising grandchildren when their own parents cannot. Read on to learn about Encompass Kinship Care Program, which provides support groups and one-on-one care for overwhelmed family members who find themselves suddenly thrust into the parenting role.
Also in this issue:
- "Culturally Appropriate Hospice Care in King County" examines outreach efforts which aim to improve end-of-life care for African Americans
- The Draft Pedestrian Plan is available for review. Help keep Seattle the Most Walkable City!
- Save the date for creative aging programs, caregiver support, home design and more!
- May is American Stroke Month, and the American Stroke Association offers tips for family caregivers
- Try your hand at this month's wordfind, "Take Care of Your Brain."
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 Kinship Caregiver Programs in King County
Kinship Caregivers are people who are raising a relative's child when circumstances prevent parents from caring for them. There are over 18,000 grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings in King County who are caring for family members' children. King County is fortunate to have 11 kinship caregiver support groups to provide these families with the support they need. Support groups are often facilitated by volunteer leaders who may themselves be, or have been, kinship caregivers, and who put in many hours to create a supportive setting for families.
On the evening of March 24, the King County Kinship Collaboration and several support group members and guests came together at the Rainier Beach Family Center to honor these individuals. The evening started with dinner and a musical performance by one of the caregiver’s grandsons. The emcee, Pat Seay from DSHS, introduced each leader, who then said a few words to the group about kinship caregiving and how they first became involved. Pat presented the leaders with a certificate of appreciation and gifts. The evening was a collective sharing of our local kinship history.
In other recognitions, Governor Gregoire proclaimed May 20, 2009 Kinship Caregiver Day. Kinship caregivers are invited to celebrate this proclamation with an evening of fun and fellowship on May 20 at that Rainier Beach Community Center from 5:00- 7:00 p.m. Child care and light dinner are included. Please RSVP to Daisy at 206-727-6217.
For more information on Kinship Support Groups, contact the support group in your area, or call the King County Kinship Navigator at 1-888-435-3377.