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It Feels Great to Be Back in Person

Last month, the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services met in person for the first time since February 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we didn’t miss a beat—we met every month in a virtual meeting. Even so, it felt great to see Advisory Council members and Aging and Disability Services staff in person at a four-hour retreat. We enjoyed camaraderie and spent the day talking about opportunities to advocate for and promote the Area Agency on Aging.

Advisory Council members Zelda Foxall (speaking) and Lorna Stone

Some of the issues we discussed at the retreat include:

  • Isolation and loneliness (health impacts)
  • Medicaid protection
  • Medicare privatization
  • Mental health services
  • Nutrition funding
  • Rent control

    Advisory Council member Larry Low

  • Tax relief options
  • Transportation options
  • Vision, mission, and values

In the months to come, we expect to publish information about many of these issues. Also, we know many will be addressed in the Area Agency on Aging’s Area Plan for 2024–2027 (now in development). The Area Plan is the agency’s “roadmap” for aging network services throughout Seattle and King County. We are pleased to have participated in multiple planning sessions using a racial equity lens.

The Advisory Council has a strong advocacy role—we represent the people who are served by the Area Agency on Aging, leading with race and embracing the philosophy that people of color should not experience disparities.

Advisory Council member Diana Thompson (left) and ADS senior planner Karen Winston

Advisory Council member Diana Thompson (left) and ADS senior planner Karen Winston

We continue to recruit new Advisory Council members. Currently, we are focused on identifying new members from rural King County, as our membership must reflect the geographic distribution of older adults in King County. We also need to represent King County’s diverse population in terms of race, gender, age, ethnicity, ability, and socio-economic status. We’d like to see more men join the Advisory Council, and we need broader disability representation.

If you or someone you know are interested in an appointment to the ADS Advisory Council, visit

Gratitude—Marigrace and Sariga

Many thanks to Marigrace Becker, who directs The Memory Hub—“A Place for Dementia-Friendly Community, Collaboration and Impact,” for hosting our May 12 retreat. The Memory Hub is a bit like a senior activity center—there are rooms for large and small gatherings, a variety of services available on-site, and much more. The building is light and airy, and Maude’s Garden was a wonderful place to congregate outdoors for lunch.

The Memory Hub is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. If you know anyone in the community who lives with memory loss or who is a family caregiver for someone living with memory loss, please let them know about The Memory Hub. It’s located at 1021 Columbia Street in Seattle, right around the corner from the entrance to The Frye Museum—a perfect location considering the museum’s Creative Aging and here:now programming designed for adults living with dementia and their care partners.

Sariga Santhosh

Sariga Santhosh

I also want to thank Sariga Santhosh for coordinating the retreat and for everything she has done for the ADS Advisory Council over the past four-and-a-half years as our staff liaison. Sariga has accepted a new position with the Seattle Department of Transportation, where she will focus on transportation equity. She certainly helped guide our Advisory Council in conversations about racial equity and social justice in aging, and I know she will do well in this new role—both internally and working with community members.

Sariga’s position with Aging and Disability Services will be filled in the coming months. When ready, a link to the position description will be posted on

Joe HaileyContributor Joe Hailey chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (


Mark Your Calendars

Following are upcoming events in which ADS Advisory Council members will participate:

Posted in Advocacy