Councilmember Tom Rasmussen
SENIOR CENTER REPORT DRAWS LARGE GROUP OF IMPASSIONED SENIORS
Phase two of a two part review offers roadmap for the future of struggling centers
SEATTLE – Today, Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, Chair of the Council’s Housing, Human Services and Health Committee, received the much anticipated second half of a review of Seattle’s senior centers. Last January Councilmember Rasmussen initiated this effort to assess the future of Seattle’s senior centers and to better understand the role the City could play in that future. “The first half of our review provided information that told us our senior centers are facing multiple significant challenges that raise questions about their future,” said Councilmember Rasmussen. “The completion of this second report gives us a better picture of the steps the City and the centers could take to improve our services to older adults and to contribute to healthy aging in our community.”
The Council retained the services of a consultant, Ms. Andrea Cohen to produce this report which examined citywide programming for seniors. For example, in the report Ms. Cohen recommends “The Department of Parks and Recreations’ mission should include the importance of programs for the 50+ population.” Councilmember Sally Clark concurred, “I would like to see the City departments take an umbrella approach in determining future efforts on behalf of our aging populations.”
The committee met this morning before a large and enthusiastic audience of advocates and seniors who testified on the importance of the centers and continued financial support both by the City and other funding organizations. One Southeast Seattle senior, Shirley Asher testified, “The Senior Center saved my life.” She went on to state that after visiting the Center she realized that she had been suffering from depression, but after continuing to take advantage of the programs and services decided to become a volunteer at the Center where she continues in that capacity after fourteen years.
“Seattle supports our senior centers,” said Councilmember Rasmussen. “I will be exploring ways that the City can strengthen its efforts to continue their important services.”
The report, Seattle’s Senior Centers - A Report for Seattle City Council outlines the rapidly increasing demographics of Seattle’s older population, the unique characteristics and potential needs of the upcoming “Baby Boomer” population, as well as recommendations for the future operations of the centers and their relationships with the City.
A copy of the report can be obtained at Councilmember Rasmussen’s website at http://www.seattle.gov/council/rasmussen/.