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The Chair’s Corner

Group Of Senior Retirement Exercising Togetherness Concept

We all need someone on our side, whether it’s to advocate and protect us or to encourage and cheer us on.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Regular readers may recall Jullie Gray’s article on The 7 Biggest Myths of Elder Abuse in our April 2016 issue, which is worth reviewing again. Gray provides a comprehensive look at the myths and signs of elder abuse and who to contact for help if you are concerned about a vulnerable adult.

While we commonly think of elder abuse as a younger adult harming an older adult, there is another type of abuse affecting our elder population—bullying. Robin Douglas sheds light on this concerning trend in her article Bullying Beyond the School Yard, Bullying Among Seniors. She features Ruben Riviera-Jackman—Director of Residential Services at Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG) in Seattle and his approach to working with residents on the issue of bullying.

Awareness is the first step towards eliminating elder abuse and bullying—but don’t stop there—advocating and protecting our older adults is everyone’s job.

The LGBTQ community—which has experienced bullying first hand—is being cheered on through the “Aging the LGBTQ Way” forum on Saturday, June 3 at Seattle City Hall. The forum starts at 10 a.m. (arrive at 9:30 to visit the resource fair). Hear Mayor Ed Murray and community leaders. Learn what the Aging with Pride: National Health, Aging, Sexuality and Gender Study can tell us about Seattle. Consider the intersections between sexuality, gender, race, and social justice. Help inform Age Friendly Seattle with your own views about LGBTQ equity, respect, and inclusion; economic and housing security; social and civic engagement; and aging, health, and community services. Lunch and afternoon appetizers are included at no cost. LGBTQ community members are invited to participate and pre-register at www.surveymonkey.com/r/LGBTQforum060317. For more info, e-mail agefriendly@seattle.gov or visit Age Friendly Seattle on Facebook and Twitter.

Aging and Disability Services director Maureen Linehan—a true advocate, protector, and cheerleader for our vulnerable adults and disabled communities—is retiring after 30 years of service. Through her dedicated leadership, she has championed services for our vulnerable adults throughout King County. I want to extend a special thank you to Maureen for her tireless investment and commitment over the years.

Maureen will pass the torch to Cathy Knight, formerly state director for the Washington Association of Area Agencies on Aging (W4A). For the past 11 years, she has led policy and legislative advocacy on behalf of Washington’s 13 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). We are very fortunate to have Cathy joining Aging and Disability Services.

In closing, Father’s Day is just around the corner. Fathers play a pivotal role in the lives of their children regardless if they are young or adults. They are our advocate, protector and cheer us onward. As our fathers age, our roles reverse. Ken Grant shares a story of his 90-year-old father, Doug, and cheers him on in the way he lives his life in both body and mind. All it takes is one step!

Cheering on all our fathers and families—Happy Father’s Day!

David BakerContributor David Baker is 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. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.


Following are some of the events that ADS Advisory Council members will participate in this month:

  • ADS Advisory Council meeting (Friday, June 9, noon, Seattle Municipal Tower 4050/4060)
  • Age-Friendly Task Force meeting (Friday, June 16, 9 a.m., Seattle Municipal Tower 4050/4060)

The Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services meets monthly, except January and October, and holds periodic forums. Open to the public, agendas are available within a week of the meeting. For more information or to request an accommodation, contact Gigi Meinig at gigi.meinig@seattle.gov or 206-684-0652.

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