So Much to Be Thankful For

During the month of November, we celebrate two important holidays—Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. It's a great time to think about the many things we are thankful for, including our country, meaningful work, purposeful retirement, family, friends, and health.

Thanks to medical advances, more people live longer and healthier lives than ever before. Most older adults are physically active, mentally competent, and integral to their families and communities.

We can also be thankful that programs and services exist to help when needed. Aging and Disability Services—one of 13 Area Agencies on Aging in Washington state and 654 AAAs nationwide—provides supportive home- and community-based services to older persons and their caregivers. Those services include adult day, Alzheimer's support, caregiver support, disability access, elder abuse prevention, employment, legal, nutrition, and transportation services; long-term care case management; and funding for senior centers. ADS helps people age and live independently.

Perhaps most important of all, ADS (and other Area Agencies on Aging throughout the nation) fund Information & Assistance programs that serve as the "front door" to most of the other programs.

In King County, Senior Services is our largest provider of Senior Information and Assistance, the "front door" to most aging programs and services.

Do you have questions about in-home care, transportation, Social Security, Medicare, physical fitness, heating bills, disease prevention, nutrition, or other issues? If you are 60 or older, chances are that Senior Information & Assistance can help. If you are younger but you take care of an older family member or friend, Senior I&A can help you, too.

In King County, Senior Information & Assistance is provided by Senior Services, our largest nonprofit partner. Senior Services also stations one senior advocate at the Seattle Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens (see related story).

Community Information & Assistance—linguistic and culturally appropriate information and assistance services for older adults who may not be able to access services due to barriers such as language, culture or location—is provided by Asian Counseling and Referral Services, Chinese Information and Service Center, Jewish Family Service, SeaMar Community Health Centers, and Neighborhood House.

As chair of the ADS Advisory Council, I am proud of and thankful for the collaboration that takes place among these agencies and six dozen or so other organizations with which ADS contracts. There's no "wrong door"—the Aging Network exists to connect you with services and supports you may need to age successfully and independently.

In November, keep moving, stay connected, and give thanks for everything that is good in our lives.

Contributor Tony Provine is serving his second term as chair of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services, which publishes AgeWise King County. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (advisorychair@agewisekingcounty.org) as well as applicants for open positions on the council, when they occur. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.