In King County there is not only a rapidly expanding older adult population, but the number of seniors in poverty continues to rise, the percentage of unpaid family caregivers is increasing, and there are disparate rates of disability and chronic disease, especially among minority populations. Seattle Aging and Disability Services(ADS) produced this Area Plan on Aging for the King County region, in conjunction with the Older American’s Act (OAA) to determine the opportunities and challenges this changing demographic brings, and plan for them in advance.
This plan on aging focuses on five goals, including improving health care quality for older adults and adults with disabilities, addressing basic needs, improving overall health and well being, increasing independence for frail older persons and adults with disabilities, and promoting age readiness. Prior to determining these goals and organizing the plan, ADS issued an online questionnaire, as well as conducted community conversations, an Innovation for Accountable Care forum, and a presentation and group discussion to assess the needs of older adult residents.
Other plan highlights include:
- ADS currently funds a number of services for older adults and adults with disability, including adult day services, a case management program that offers assistance to those with significant health and social needs, chronic care management, disability access service, elder abuse prevention, health promotion, and family caregiver information and support, amongst others.
- The increasing number of older adults highlights the need for King County to build an “elder-friendly” community that addresses the basic needs of this growing population, while also optimizing health and wellness, promoting social and civic engagement, and increasing independence that allow them to age in place for as long as possible.
- Health care quality might be a national issue, but it is a local King County issue as well. Based on a survey of King Country residents, affordable health care is the most important issue, followed by mobility concerns.
How to Use
This is a very detailed and well-organized plan that can serve as a guide for local planners and community leaders outside of the King County area. It provides strong goals based on solid consumer research, as well as strategies and objectives for achieving these goals. Additionally, the information on promoting age readiness can be used by planners and leaders in all communities that understand the importance of educating older adults on preparing for the future.
View the full report: Area Plan on Aging: Seattle King County Washington 2012-2015 (PDF – 4.2 MB)