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King 5

KING 5 Promotes Volunteer Transportation


Thanks to KING5 for a terrific story about our volunteer transportation program. Watch the video here.

Interested in volunteering? Learn more here.

Inspire Awards

Inspire Positive Aging Award: Nominations due April 27

Do you know an elder age 60 and older that lives in King County who inspires others in their community to age with grace, enthusiasm, creativity and hope?  Then nominate them today. Senior Services is currently accepting nominations for this year’s Inspire Positive Aging Award.  Anyone can nominate an elder. Learn more and find the nomination form.

Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteer Spotlight

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month

Photo: Volunteer driver Kathe Kern and client Tamaya Nomi.

Kathe Kern has been on the road for 25 years, and counting.

Senior Services volunteer driver Kathe Kern has always believed in giving her time to help others. With a degree in zoology and chemistry she began her first volunteer gig—reading and recording textbooks for blind students. But when her first son came along, Kathe found she could no longer make recordings. Babies are loud!

Fortunately, Kathe came across a Senior Services ad in the newspaper for volunteer drivers to take seniors to medical appointments. The gig seemed perfect as it allowed her to put her little boy in the backseat and take him along. Twenty-five years and four more boys later, Kathe is still driving. All five kids—one or two at a time—accompanied her as she went from her Mercer Island home all over the east side and Seattle with elders needing rides to the doctor.

Kathe says her boys learned valuable lessons from the experience. “I drove a woman who had cancer,” she remembers, “and she yelled at me. The boys’ eyes got as big as the moon, since they knew no one was allowed to talk to mom that way. Later I explained that the lady was very sick and maybe dying, and this is one of those times you have to be understanding.”

Senior Services’ Volunteer Transportation program provides door-to-door rides to medical appointments and back for seniors who are not able to drive themselves or manage public transportation. Last year, 800 caring and dedicated people—many of them seniors themselves—volunteered to help elders get to their doctors.

According to Kathe, the rewards of driving are great. “It has been as good for me as for the people I drove,” she says. “They’re good company and we tell each other our stories.” The clients have been appreciative and always loved seeing Kathe’s kids.

Though the boys are grown now, Kathe still drives several times a week. “It gets me out of the house!”

Senior Services offers many fun, meaningful,  and rewarding volunteer opportunities. Please join us

Annual Meeting

2015 Annual Meeting

You are invited to our Annual Meeting, May 20,  2 to 5 p.m., at the Des Moines Beach Auditorium, 22030 Cliff Ave S, Des Moines, WA.

The event is free and open to the public; reservations are requested by calling (206) 727-6267. Online reservations will be available later. Invitations will be sent to our donors and supporters in the next few weeks.

The program will include light refreshments, exhibitor tables, an overview of Senior Services’ past year, and introductions of the Inspire Positive Aging Award nominees for 2015, and the announcement of the 2015 award recipient.

Exhibitor tables will be featured prior to the beginning of the program.  They will highlight local businesses, civic groups, and community partners who believe in the vision of Senior Services and want to share the way in which their resources can enhance the lives of others.

Thank You, Microsoft

Thank You, Microsoft

Information Systems Manager John Gleichman jumped up and down with excitement when he learned that Microsoft had donated software—valued at a jaw-dropping $944,000—to keep Senior Services’ technology up-to-date.

“This new software makes it easier and faster for our staff and volunteers to help seniors in the community,” says Gleichman. “I cannot say enough good things about Microsoft. They really care.”

From gifts at the holidays to contributions from employees, mission support grants, volunteers, and desperately needed software, our partners at Microsoft truly take philanthropy to the next level and beyond.

Fund for Needy Donors

Seattle Times Fund for the Needy Donors Give Record $1,287,878

One more round of applause for The Seattle Times' Fund for Needy campaign and everyone who contributed to raise an incredible $1.2+ million. That community support in the holiday season allows Senior Services and our nonprofit colleagues to continue helping people in need all year 'round. We are so grateful.

Read more about the campaign below.

Now that your 50

Things to Know Now That You’re 50: Launching New Workshops at Sno-Valley Senior Center


Those turning 50 – or finding themselves a few years into their 50s – know there are new things to learn for the next phase of life. However, many may not be looking forward to talking about aging and the issues we all may face.  Senior Services and Sno-Valley Senior Center will make it easy and fun for those attending a new series of workshops developed through Senior Services’ Aging Your Way initiative.

It’s a boot camp of topics packaged into four sessions that will prepare participants for the next exciting life stage. Topics include The Time of Your Life:  You Can Plan the Next 50 Years!; Take This Job and Love It:  You Deserve Sanity, Passion and Fun While You Work; Health and Care:  When You or a Loved One Needs Help; Death is the New Sex!:  No Longer a Taboo Subject, Make Positive End of Life Plans.

Taught by Aging Your Way Program Manager Dori Gillam, each session is two hours, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Sno-Valley Senior Center in Carnation. A new topic is featured each Tuesday evening, April 7, 14, 21 and 28. The series is only $100 when purchased in advance; $135 at the door (space available.)

Workshops are planned for other locations throughout King County in the coming months. Learn more and register here.

Emergency Kits

Home-bound Seniors Receive Free Emergency-Preparedness Kits


Theresa O'Neil greets Fran Donohue,
 Meals on Wheels driver for Senior Services.


Home-bound Seniors Receive Free Emergency-Preparedness Kits

American Preparedness, Senior Services and Swedish partner to provide supplies to some of King County’s most vulnerable residents


Meals on Wheels client Theresa O’Neil was, as always, delighted to welcome driver Fran Donohue into her cozy home with her week’s food delivery. But this day, Fran had an extra gift for her, thanks to Swedish and American Preparedness. Theresa’s eyes sparkled even more than usual, as Fran showed her the contents of her free emergency preparedness kit.


KING 5 News was there to capture this moment, and you can watch the video here

You can also see photos from this delivery on our Facebook page

American Preparedness, Senior Services and Swedish Health Services recently launched delivery of free emergency preparedness kits to 1,000 vulnerable, home-bound King County seniors who receive Meals on Wheels. The kits provide emergency food and water, first-aid supplies, a flashlight, thermal blanket, hand warmers and other items to help individuals during the critical first 72 hours of an emergency.

A recent University of Iowa study found that the majority of adults age 50 and older in the U.S. may not be prepared for a serious flood, earthquake, tornado or other natural disaster. In the Puget Sound region, such disasters as earthquake and inclement weather are most likely to impact these vulnerable populations.


“This is an opportunity to provide additional support to these older adults who may find it more difficult to obtain emergency supplies,” says Paula Houston, CEO of Senior Services. “It also allows us to address the larger issue of emergency preparedness with these clients and help them think about how to plan to connect with their caregivers or other means of support during an emergency.”


“American Preparedness is committed to ensuring that the public—especially vulnerable people like home-bound seniors—are protected during an emergency,” says Jeff Guite, President and Founder of American Preparedness Company.

Swedish and Senior Services have teamed up on a number of initiatives such as mobile mammography services and tailored health and fitness classes to improve the health and well-being of older adults. This is the first time the two organizations have combined efforts with American Preparedness to make an even greater impact on this community. As part of its ongoing Community Benefits Program, Swedish provided approximately $30,000 in funding to support this important initiative.

See more below about emergency planning


Giving Programs Brighten Seniors’ Holidays

Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our community partners’ Holiday Giving Programs, many older adults enjoyed a very merry holiday season. At a time when many local seniors may find themselves isolated, these programs bring great joy.

Thanks to Boeing, East Shore Unitarian Church, Facebook, Microsoft’s Giving Tree, Nordstrom, Regence, Symetra, and Wilson Law Firm.  Many of our seniors are on fixed incomes and your generosity proves that the holiday spirit is alive and well in King County. 

Fund for the Needy

Senior Services Benefits from Seattle Times Fund for the Needy

Senior Services' Meals on Wheels program was the feature story for Fund for the Needy on December 28.

The annual Seattle Times Fund for the Needy campaign launched on Sunday, November 23 with a front-page story featuring the Central Area Senior Center.

Each year, Fund for the Needy raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to support 12 nonprofits—including Senior Services—in Seattle and King County. This year’s goal is an ambitious $1.3 million. January 20, the fund is at 95 percent of the goal! You can give today.

Other Fund for the Needy stories:

Jan. 4: One teen's transformation from gang member to role model
Dec. 27: Once-struggling student now in college, thanks to Treehouse
Dec. 24: Helping families spring back from distress
Dec. 20: After a bad year, young mom find beacon of hope and stability
Dec. 17: Fund for the Needy donations on record pace
Dec. 15: 'We lost everything,' but Hopelink offers road back
Dec. 11: A place where Asian and Pacific Islander teens feel safe
Dec. 7: Childhaven overcome abuse and neglect
Dec. 3: Kent agency helps teen who strayed get pointed to hopeful future
Nov. 29: Big Brothers, Big Sisters helps youth develop their potential
Nov. 26: Salvation Army fills needy kids' backpacks with food and hope
Nov. 26: Donor's tender heart and generous spirit shine at holidays

You can support Fund for the Needy by making a donation and by booking passage on the Argosy Cruise Christmas Ship.

Google Meals on Wheels

Google.org Awards $10,000 Grant to Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels

Senior Services announced today that Google.org is contributing $10,000 to the organization’s Meals on Wheels program, which strives to ensure that no King County senior will go hungry. Last year, Meals on Wheels delivered nearly 390,000 meals to more than 2,100 individuals.


Darcy Nothnagle, Western Region Public Affairs Manager for Google, said "Here in Seattle we're hoping to make the holidays a little brighter for clients who receive meals from Senior Services. Organizations like this are a powerful weapon in the fight against hunger and malnutrition."


“We are grateful to Google.org for this generous gift,” said George Twiss, Vice President and Chief Development Officer. “Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels makes it easy for home-bound persons age 60 or more to eat well and remain independent. This grant will provide nearly 2,000 meals for vulnerable seniors in King County.”


Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels offers frozen home-delivered meals for older persons who are unable to leave their home to shop or prepare nutritious meals. The meals are prepared with the special dietary needs of seniors in mind and are adaptable to a variety of special diets.


Over the course of the year, Google.org strives to make the world a little bit better through their technology and giving programs, including more than $100 million in grants, $1 billion in technology resources, and 80,000+ volunteer hours donated to causes around the world. Learn more at www.Google.org.


Emergency Preparedness Tips

Emergency Planning Tips for Older Adults and Caregivers

Emergency planning tips for Older Adults and Caregivers

1.      Do you have enough food to last one week?

2.      Do you have enough medications to last one week?

3.      Do you have heat, and are you able to stay warm?

4.      Do you have a personal support system in area?

5.      Do you live alone? Are you working with any community support resources like CM, or have a caregiver?

6.      Are you homebound?

7.      Are you at risk for falling? Use any assistance devices, etc.

Caregiver emergency planning tips

1.      Do you have a list and supply of medications for person you care for?

2.      Do you have person you are caring for care plan needs in writing?

3.      Do you have important documents easily accessible such as POA, emergency contact info?

4.      Do you have any wander alert, medic alert, life line systems for person you are caring for?

5.      If unable to assist with evacuation for Cl home or facility do you have a personal contact or neighbor to assist if needed?

Emergency Supply Kit Checklist

The more you do to prepare, the better off you will be in case of an emergency. Emergency planners suggest you should plan to make it on your own for at least three days following a crisis. They advise:

·        Water for drinking and sanitation. One gallon per person per day for at least  three days

·        Food. At least a three-day supply of non-perishable items and a can opener

·        Battery-powered radio

·        Flashlight and extra batteries

·        Blankets, moist towelettes, plastic garbage bags and ties for personal sanitation

·        First Aid Kit

·        Dust mask to filter contaminated air

·        Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

·        Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

·        Medication supply (clearly labeled)

·        Eyeglasses or hearing aids as needed

·        Extra set of keys

·        Phone list of both in-town and out-of-town contacts

Having access to important documents is advised. Important medical records, family records, health insurance information, any Powers of Attorney, your Wills or Health Care Directives should also be part of an emergency kit.

Call Senior Services Information and Assistance, 206-448-3110, for more information about planning for winter weather.

In Memoriam William J. Cruzen

In Memoriam: William (Bill) James Cruzen

Senior Services mourns the passing of Bill Cruzen on October 29, 2014 in Palm Springs, California, after a courageous 6-plus year battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Bill was a member of the Senior Services Board of Directors for more than a decade, serving as president (2004) and past president (2005) before retiring from the board in 2008.


“Bill and I served together on the Senior Services Board in the ‘90s and he was very effective and involved,” said George Twiss. “When I returned to Senior Services this year as Vice President and Chief Development Officer, I learned how engaged Bill had remained throughout the years. In particular, he introduced friends and colleagues to Senior Services through our fund-raising gala dinner and auction, Soiree. Also, as a pre-eminent estate planning attorney, Bill was a founder of our Planned Giving program. He was truly a great and long term friend of Senior Services and the elders we serve.”


Bill graduated from Seattle University with a B.A. in 1964 and from Hastings College of the Law, University of California with a J.D. in 1967, Order of the Coif and Thurston Society. He joined Karr Tuttle Campbell in 1967, and was the chairperson of the Trust and Estates Department until he retired. For many years, he published articles for, addressed, and chaired seminars to the legal and accounting professions on estate planning, inclusive of the Washington State Bar Association, the Estate Planning Council of Seattle, the Walla Walla Estate Planning Council, and the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants. He was a past member of the board of trustees of Community Home Health Care Services and of the board of trustees of Bastyr University. He was also a past member of the planned giving advisory board of the American Cancer Society and past member of the planned giving advisory board of Seattle University. He was elected a Super Lawyer for the years 2002 through 2010.


From his obituary in The Seattle Times, “Sometimes people don't just pass by us, they pass through us, leaving a legacy which we treasure for all time; the fingerprint of their soul, a warmness, a goodness, a kindness - the epitome of love and respect. Bill was such a man.


“Born to Pearl Charboneau and George Cruzen on February 28, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan, Bill is survived by Steve Catching (his loving husband of 40 years); sons Sean Cruzen and Darin Cruzen; daughter in-law Deena Elzey and grandchildren, Christopher Mehlert-Cruzen, Rian Elzey-Cruzen and Kaitlin Cruzen; brother Glen Cruzen of Texas; and his best friend and unconditional companion, Jackson. In the last months of his life, he was surrounded by his family and many, many friends - a testament to this truly remarkable man.”


The family requested in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill's name to Senior Services for the William Cruzen and Steve Catching Endowment Fund. You may read the obituary and sign Bill's online Guest Book.

Soiree update

31st Annual Senior Services Soirée Raises $340,000

“For the Love of Sylvia,” Video Highlight

Senior Services was honored to profile Sylvia and her son, Ira, and grandson, Asher, in our video at Soiree on November 1. We are saddened to note that she passed away on November 9. She attended the dinner with Ira and he was able to salute her in a short speech following the video. Learn more about Sylvia and her remarkable life in her obituary.  Our thanks to the family for sharing their story and being part of Senior Services. 

Senior Services hosted the 31st Annual Soirée, a black-tie Gala Dinner and Auction, on Saturday, November 1, at the Museum of Flight, raising $340,000, a 12 percent increase over the 2013 event.


Proceeds from Soirée help fund Senior Services’ programs that support older adults throughout King County, including Information & Assistance, a one-stop phone line for resources; Meals on Wheels, Community Dining; Volunteer Transportation; Hyde Shuttles; EnhanceFitness and Enhance Wellness; Minor Home Repair; Caregiver Advocates; Senior Rights Assistance; Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA); and seven senior centers.


“Thank you to everyone who made this event a success, including our corporate sponsors, attendees and volunteers. We also want to thank our emcee KIRO 7 anchor and reporter Monique Ming Laven (who is also a Senior Services volunteer driver), and our auctioneer Stephen Kilbreath,” said Paula L. Houston, Senior Services CEO. “Each person made a difference in the lives of older adults and those who care about them throughout King County. From the frail, homebound elders to healthy, active Baby Boomers, our programs help older adults improve nutrition, increase social support and maintain their independence.  In short, we help those we serve maintain quality of life and make aging a positive experience. The funds raised at Soirée help us to do just that.”


The evening also included performances by the Mount Zion Wind Ensemble Group during the silent auction and Sensible Shoes, the Seattle Women’s Chorus Ensemble, during dinner.


The 2014 Platinum Sponsor for Soirée was Swedish Medical Center. Silver Sponsor was Group Health. Bronze Sponsors were AAA Washington, Regence BlueShield and Symetra.


Search Input

News Links

Taking Care Of Mom & Dad
Taking Care Of Mom & Dad, a KIRO 7 Family Connection Special, shows four families and how they're coping with aging parents.

For the Media

Important stories involving seniors arise almost every day in our community. Senior Services is an expert source that can answer questions and provide information for those in the media. If you are a member of the press and have any questions or need more information, please contact:

Karen L. Bystrom
Director, Marketing and Communications
(206) 727-6209
Email Karen