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Inspire Positive Aging Awards: Changing the Conversation About Aging

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So often, aging in our society is referred to as a negative process, discussed only in terms of its challenges and hardships. This perception is not only inaccurate but dangerous!

Research has shown that negative views of aging can affect our health and longevity. A Yale study showed that older people with positive views of aging do better on memory tests, are more likely to recover fully from severe disability, and live longer—by an average of 7.5 years. So, how can we shift from viewing aging with anxiety to viewing it with acceptance and even enthusiasm?

Sound Generations—a nonprofit organization serving older adults and those who care for them in King County—seeks to change the conversation about aging by honoring local elders who exemplify what it means to age well. Beginning January 1, 2017, the organization is accepting nominations for the 12th annual Inspire Positive Aging awards—a celebration of the diverse ways in which older adults enrich the lives of those around them.

inspire-positive-agingIs there an older person who inspires you? Visit between January 1 and March 1 to submit a nomination online. Anyone can nominate—the only requirements of nominees are that they be King County residents age 60 or older. All nominees are honored at an Inspire Positive Aging awards luncheon on April 20, 2017 (11:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m.) at the Bellevue Hilton. Categories are listed below.

Past nominees have represented a wide range of experiences and interests. Dr. Dominick Minotti, the 2016 award recipient for Intergenerational Impact, is a retired physician and Army colonel who is passionate about youth outreach. He has contributed time and talent to Gay City Health Project, Seattle Central College’s Compass program, Navos, St. James Cathedral, and the Dante Alighieri Society of Washington.

His nominator said, “Nick seeks out ways to help individuals with special challenges: helping a younger person coming out of jail to establish a home and job, helping someone lost in the foster care system since early childhood to establish stability and a career in adulthood, accompanying friends to major medical consultations in order to explain what has transpired and assist them in making decisions about care, and serving on the advisory council to establish support for older adult LGBT folks.”

Other past award recipients include Richard Body (Community Service), who volunteers for Sound Generations, South King Fire and Rescue, and Des Moines/Normandy Park Senior Activity Center; Geraldine Allsopp (Health & Wellness) an avid exerciser and active member of Normandy Park UCC, and the YMCA; Fai Coffin (Advocacy & Activism), an influential leader at Southeast Seattle Senior Center, the Community Alliance for Social Justice, and other local organizations; and Barbara “BJ” Johnson (Lifelong Learning), the most senior of Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center’s Hula Group.

Read about last year’s award winners at Five King County Residents Who Inspire Positive Aging (AgeWise, July 2016).

To nominate someone for an Inspire Positive Aging award, click here. For more information about the awards, contact Sound Generations’ development associate Pin Pin Song at, or 206-727-6267.

Contributor Annie Atherton manages print, digital and social media marketing for Sound Generations, a local nonprofit organization formerly known as Senior Services.

Begun in 2006, the Inspire Positive Aging awards celebrate older adults who engage with their communities, challenge stereotypes about aging, and serve as valuable sources of wisdom and experience. This year, Sound Generations has expanded the award to include six different categories:

  1. Community Service
  2. Advocacy and Activism
  3. Intergenerational Impact
  4. Health and Wellness
  5. Lifelong Learning
  6. Defining Inspiration
  7. Outstanding Team