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200 Engaged in Discussing Women and Optimal Aging

Age Friendly Seattle, the City’s initiative to make Seattle a great place to grow up AND grow old, hosted 200 people—mostly women, all ages—at “Engaging Aging,” a women’s equity forum at City Hall on November 6. Three dozen community sponsors helped promote the event. Four dozen exhibitors filled the City Hall Lobby in mid-afternoon.

In late afternoon, Deputy Mayor Kate Joncas kicked off the evening by connecting Bertha Knight Landes’ equity work in the 1920s with the discussions that would ensue during the evening. Seattle City Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Lisa Herbold also participated in the welcome.

Engaging Aging women’s equity forum photo courtesy of Lorraine Sanford.

For the rest of the evening, the audience listened to and then discussed issues and strategies presented by a series of speakers, including keynote speaker LueRachelle Brim-Atkins, Brim-Donahoe & Associates, who discussed The Triple Whammy: Ageism, Racism & Sexism—very real factors that influence every other topic.

This word cloud reflects the Engaging Aging presentation themes.

Eight “lightning talk” presenters discussed issues of interest to women and others. Each prepared an issue paper for pre- and post-forum reading so they could focus their quick presentations on strategies and solutions. The issue papers were also published in the event program (click here).

  • Longevity, Equity, and Healthy Aging (Patty Hayes, Public Health—Seattle & King County): slidedeck
  • You’re Not Alone: Avoiding Loneliness in Later Life (Anu Orebiyi, African American Elders Program, Catholic Community Services of Western Washington): slidedeck
  • Pushing the Re-Set Button: Taking the Stigma Off of Housing Options (Sharonn Meeks, Washington State Housing Finance Commission)
  • Keep Moving, Stay Connected, Live Well with Memory Loss (Marigrace Becker, UW Memory & Brain Wellness Center) : slidedeck
  • Women and Economic Insecurity: Advocacy and Policy Solutions (Jennifer Romich, University of Washington): slidedeck
  • Finding Employment When You’re Female, Fabulous, and Fifty-plus (Lynda Hunter, Aging and Disability Services, Seattle Human Services Department)
  • Preventing Gender Based Violence (Lan Pham, Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Seattle Human Services Department)
  • Caregiving: So Rewarding … and Oh, So Stressful (Dolores Maria Rossman, Rossman-Guerrero y Asociados): slidedeck

Forum presentations were videotaped and broadcast by The Seattle Channel, available on demand here. A report containing recommendations from forum participants—gathered via roundtable discussions, personal response cards, feedback forums, and an online survey—is available on

For more information about the forum or about Age Friendly Seattle, or to learn how other communities can become more age-friendly, e-mail

Age-friendly communities receive generous guidance through the AARP Livable Communities network of age-friendly communities. For more information and online resources, visit

Contributor Irene Stewart is project manager for Age Friendly Seattle. She counts the women’s forum among the best events she’s ever had the pleasure of attending, thanks to a talented community-based planning team, expert presenters, and topnotch City colleagues.