As we approach the end of the calendar year, we also look forward to the 2024 legislative session in Olympia, which will begin on January 8, 2024 and run for 60 days. During that time, members of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services—along with Aging Network advocates from across Washington state—will let our elected officials know what we think about specific issues of interest to older people.
Currently we are working with legislative priorities developed by the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging (W4A). All 13 Area Agencies on Aging in our state are members. Our agency—serving all of King County—is the largest.
- Fund $1.58 million to provide in-home case managers for long-term care clients who do not have caregivers. Statewide, that will soon exceed 4,000 clients. Currently, there is a caregiver shortage. The requested funding increase will reduce caseloads to 55:1 for case managers of clients without caregivers in the home. Here’s what one of our case managers had to say:
“Finding caregivers to work in Queen Anne is next to impossible. I have one client who has been actively looking for a caregiver for over six months now. Each time she obtains a new caregiver they end up quitting after one shift because the commute is longer than they expected. Many caregivers don’t have cars, so their commute relies on public transportation. I worry about my client’s safety, many experience falls and hospitalizations without a caregiver in place to help.”
- Fund $15.2 million to ensure that 18,686 older people and individuals with disabilities can receive hot meals at community sites, from food pantries, through home-delivery (e.g., Meals on Wheels), and other nutrition services. This would fund a total of 1,382,782 meals. If you do the math, that’s 74 meals per person in 2025, with an average cost (counting administration) of $10.99—not a lot!
In addition to helping with basic nutrition, meal programs help combat loneliness, help prevent hospitalization, help delay costly residential care, and help ensure that other needs are met. Here’s what one home-delivered meals client in Seattle had to say:
“It is so nice to see a smiling face when my meals are delivered. Sometimes I can feel so alone and apart from the world in my home. The program is so valuable to me.”
Learn more by clicking on each of the W4A handouts posted above. Visit the W4A website to sign up for advocacy alerts. Once the legislative session begins, please consider contacting your own state legislators to let them know what you think. The easiest way is to call the toll-free Legislative Hotline (1-800-562-6000).
Join the Washington Senior Citizens’ Lobby
W4A, Aging and Disability Services, and a wide range of organizations representing similar interests are members of the Washington State Senior Citizens’ Lobby, which meets monthly throughout the year—see the calendar on their website for meeting dates and e-mail email@example.com for location and more information. See also the Senior Lobby’s Issues and Resources pages. We are very fortunate to have thousands of friends from across Washington state who care about and take action to increase support for older people, individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and families.
Contributor Joe Hailey chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Photo credit (top): Washington State Capitol, Olympia, Washington, by Ken Lund (Flickr Creative Commons)
Mark Your Calendars
Following are upcoming events in which ADS Advisory Council members will participate:
- ADS Advisory Council: Friday, December 8 (12–2 p.m.); online. To receive the meeting link, e-mail Michael.Adusah@seattle.gov in advance.
- NW Universal Design Council: Tuesday, December 12 (3–4 p.m.); online. To receive the m1eeting link, e-mail Dinah.Stephens@seattle.gov in advance.
- Mayor’s Council on African American Elders: Friday, December 15 (2:00–3:30 p.m.) at the Douglass Truth Library (2300 East Yesler Way, Seattle). RSVP by e-mail for this holiday meeting (on or before Monday, Dec. 11): Karen.Winston@seattle.gov
- Holiday Closures: Christmas Day (Monday, December 25) and New Year’s Day (Monday, January 1) are national holidays. Aging and Disability Services offices will be closed on these days.