Taking Care of Our Senior Population

We’ve heard about it for decades — the American population is older than it has ever been. The mean age has increased by nearly ten years since 1960. What that translates to is a need — really, a responsibility — to provide a high level of programming and assistance for the aging population. Washington State has 1,074,000 people age 65 and over, or 14.1% of the entire population. This is less than the national average of 15% across the entire United States, but it doesn’t keep our state from providing a vast array of programs and support.

This support starts with the Department of Aging, which has seven locations throughout Washington including Olympia, Pierce County, King County and Seattle. The department is a government agency that delivers services and programs to elderly residents in locations they serve throughout the state. Working with the federal Departments of Aging, they promote the health, safety, and independence of aging residents.

Staff can answer questions about senior assistance programs, elder care in their market, senior and disabled persons transportation, the Older Americans Act, and adult daycare and senior companion services.

There are several nonprofit organizations in the area, but one that stands out is Senior Services for South Sound. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for people as they age by offering a wide range of programs for seniors and their families, addressing the ever-changing demands of the community and its senior concerns. Senior Services for South Sound offers eight nutritional sites called Community Dining and two senior centers, one in Olympia and one in Lacey. The center operates the local Meals on Wheels programs for seniors and others that are homebound.

Programs at the center, in addition to nutrition, include Alzheimer’s & Dementia, Caregivers, Senior Transportation, Leisure Travel, Client Services Counseling, and Lifelong Learning. The center also works with other community groups to implement a Senior Farmers Market.

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