Fall 2012      November is National Caregivers Month

Caregiver support helps North Seattle couple 


Corrie Bush Until recently, North Seattle resident Corie Borish was a full-time caregiver for her husband who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2007. Corie cared for her husband from the time he was first diagnosed. "He was a very, very active man prior to and during the first stage of his diagnosis," recalls Corie. "He walked with our dog every day, took classes at the University of Washington, and did our finances." There was a long plateau in her husband's condition, followed by a gradual decline.

As his condition deteriorated, Corie had to give up her job as a mental health therapist, and it became hard for her to sleep as her husband would stay up much of the night and wander through the house. At first Corie could manage with the help of some professional caregivers a few hours a day, but as her husband became worse she turned to other sources of support, including the local Alzheimer's Association chapter. This chapter is a member of the King County Caregiver Support Network and receives state and federal caregiver support funding administered by the Human Services Department's Aging and Disability Services Division. Corie found the association's in-home consultations and support groups to be invaluable tools in combating the exhaustion, stress and depression associated with trying to cope with a loved one's decline into dementia.

Corie's husband was recently admitted into an adult family home. Though she would have preferred having him stay at home even longer, the support of the Alzheimer's Association and other organizations allowed Corie to keep her husband at home and independent for as long as possible. 

Caregivers need care themselves

FCSP logoThe aging of the population means that an increasing number of adults require assistance with daily living such as eating, dressing, and bathing. Family members and friends often provide this assistance by taking time off work and other responsibilities to care for their loved ones at home.  


In King County, an estimated 210,000 adults -- 14.5% of the adult population -- spend time caring for a loved one. These caregivers help prevent or delay placement of their loved ones in much more costly settings such as nursing homes. The monetary value of family caregiving alone is estimated at $350 billion in the U.S., which far exceeds the $250 billion spent annually on nursing homes and home health care.

But caregiving can take a heavy toll. Caregivers face high levels of stress, frustration and isolation, and are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and fatigue. Caregivers are at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke than non-caregivers. The good news is that a growing body of research shows that certain services and supports can greatly reduce caregiver stress and health risks. These include mental health counseling, "respite" services where a substitute caregiver allows the primary caregiver to take a break, training on how to effectively take care of a loved one, and support groups. In Seattle and King County these services are offered through the King County Caregiver Support Network (206-448-3110). Several local nonprofits are members of this network, and can either provide or point you in the direction of help for your caregiving needs after a brief consultation. Best of all: most services are free! 

Caregiving resources


In addition to the King County Caregiver Support Network, a variety of other organizations offer services that can benefit caregivers. Here are a few resources:
*    Washington Connection can help you and your family access a variety of benefits and services in Washington. You can check for eligibility and even apply online.
*    Benefits Checkup is a site run by the National Council on Aging. Fnd benefit programs that can help you pay to for medications, health care, food, utilities and more.
*    DSHS/ADSA Caregiving Page is run by the State Department of Social and Health Services and provides information on programs and services available to caregivers.
*    ElderCare Locator is operated by the U.S. Administration on Aging and can help you connect with services for caregivers and older adults in your community.
*    National Alliance for Caregiving is a nonprofit coalition of national organizations focusing on issues of family caregiving.
*    AARP Caregiving Resource Center provides great tools to connect with other caregivers online, including Internet support groups.
*    Alzheimer's Association provides a wealth of information and support, not only related to Alzheimer's but other dementias as well.


More resources can be found on the King County Caregiver Support Network's Other Resources page

Why you need LinkedIn

LinkedInNo matter your age or the kind of work you seek, if you are not using social media and social networking in your job search you may be missing many opportunities.

One such network, LinkedIn, connects you directly with people who may be able to help you find work through the posting of thousands of jobs. Through LinkedIn Groups function you can make yourself visible to a far greater number of potential employers than you would otherwise. LinkedIn offers users the ability to display their experience and qualifications, build a virtual network of contacts and join groups related to various professions. Belonging to LinkedIn groups can add credibility to a user's account profile and increase the likelihood the user will be viewed by similar types of groups, potentially leading to networking or career opportunities.

There are three ways to find groups on LinkedIn. The first is to use the groups directory on the LinkedIn home page. The second is through groups the user has already joined. Members of groups are provided with a list of similar groups that may be of interest to them. And the third is through groups to whom  their connections belong.

Some LinkedIn statistics demonstrate why it important to use this service:
*    The average annual income of LinkedIn users is $109,703
*    80% are college graduates
*    49% are business decision makers
*    16% are in senior management

AARP forum exposes consumer fraud


Scam alertConsumers lose billions of dollars every year to various kinds of consumer fraud. According to a study conducted by AARP, people over 50 years of age are especially vulnerable and account for more than half of all victims. That's why AARP joined leading consumer advocates and experts to present "Scam Jam" in Burien on September 17th.

"Whether it's bogus investment deals or the newest identity theft, sophisticated con-artists are busy at work coming up with new ways to get you to hand over your hard-earned money," says AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center Director Jean Mathisen.

Scam Jam attendees heard from more than a dozen organizations including the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, the Attorney General's Office, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Federal Trade Commission, the Senior Medicare Patrol, Adult Protective Services, and others.

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan warned the crowd of the growing instances of "skimming" aimed at stealing bank card numbers and PINs from unsuspecting consumers. Scammers often get the information by installing scanners and small cameras on ATM machines. She urged consumers to take a few simple precautions, including:
1) Wiggle the card reader to disable scanners.
2) Look for suspicious holes through which small cameras may peer.
3) Cover the keypad when entering your PIN.
4) Check your accounts regularly to make sure no one has made charges.

Mark Couey from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) talked about insurance scams. According to Couey, 10% of all insurance claims may be fraudulent, costing nearly $1.67 billion per year or $625 for every household in Washington state. Consumers can check out insurance agents and companies before doing business by using the OIC's online lookup tool

Attendees also learned how to spot and stop Medicare fraud during a presentation by Roya Rezai, Branch Chief for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Rezai warned that if anyone contacts you and claims to be from Medicare or the Social Security Administration and they ask you to share your Medicare number, it's a scam. Medicare already has your number and anyone who asks for it may be targeting you for identity theft. Call 1-800-562-6900 with any questions or concerns.

For more information, call the AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center at 1-800-646-2283 or visit this Web site.  

Beyond the Gold Card: never a dearth of things to do


Oldtimers picnicThanks to your trusty Gold Card, you may have been to the Seattle Aquarium and to the Woodland Park Zoo so many times that the parrots greet you by name. But on those days you feel like a caged bird yourself, where else can you go without spending a lot of green?

Certainly, you've heard of senior centers. You've heard that people play bingo and card games, and work on arts and crafts. But how about simulated bowling or golf on the Wii video game system, Qigong, Zumba classes, massage, and warm water exercise to keep your body strong and flexible? Trips to ball games, restaurants, parks and gardens, with transportation included? Hot lunches? You'll find these and more at a senior center near you.

Seattle Parks and Recreation community centers also have many low-cost programs for adults 50 and over. Drop-in Tai Chi classes for $3. Free group walks for you and your dog, or hiking trips in local areas. A free pillowcase-making class. Trips to local festivals, exhibits, and places of interest that include transportation for little more than the price of admission. Download the fall recreation guide here.

And if you want to expand your group of friends, a number of special-interest groups exist. There's the Chief Seattle Club for Native Americans; Mature Friends, a social and activity group for those who identify as LGBT; Primetime Programming, a Jewish activity group; activities and meals for those of Ukrainian, Samoan, Filipino, Japanese and Ethiopian backgrounds, to name a few; the Crone of Puget Sound for women, and even a 50+ Singles group. Find the list of Senior Activity Programs here.

For more information or to subscribe to a weekly e-mail list of upcoming events and activities, please call 206-684-0500 or e-mail seniors@seattle.gov.  

Staying engaged in the job search


job searchIf your interest in searching for work is fading then it's time to reassess and take action to keep up the momentum. When I'm asked, "What's the hardest part of a job search?" I always say the same thing: making sure that the jobseeker doesn't mentally and emotionally "check out" of the process due to lack of success.

People are often hampered by two things - character flaws, and ability flaws. Ability flaws, such as not being comfortable talking on the phone, are correctable with time, training and effort. Character flaws are only correctable if you are willing to let them go. If you are a procrastinator by nature, or you float in a sea of negativity, or have zero patience with new things, your job search will likely be tougher. How we deal with disappointment and setbacks is critically important.

Remember that looking for a job is more of a marathon, than a sprint. I know it's not always easy to put yourself "out there" over and over again; just remember that the average job seeker takes at least 18 months to find employment. Be sure to check out the free Job Search WorkShops (such as the ones at the Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens), and remember, the value of networking cannot be over-emphasized.

(by Joan Uzelak) 

It's never too late to advance your computer knowledge


Paul Garavaglia, volunteer instructor (center), helping students

I love connecting seniors of all ages to the magic of using computers, and I'm happy to report that age does NOT make a difference in your learning experience. The volunteer instructors with the "Seniors Training Seniors" program are dedicated to helping all their students enjoy while they learn. We have people in their 80s and 90s in our classes!

As the Program Coordinator, I've had great phone conversations with seniors of all ages who are learning for the first time, and with job seekers and others  who want to advance their skills for their development and learning, or for future employment.

All the of the trained "Seniors Training Seniors" volunteer instructors are over 50 years old. They enjoy sharing their knowledge, humor, and compassion with their students. Because the classes are small (three to six students maximum), no one is left behind, and the cost is minimal. Current training sites are at Greenwood Senior Center, Wallingford Senior Center, Lake City Court Computer Center, Senior Services, the Lillian Rice Building (Belltown), West Seattle Senior Center, and Southeast Seattle Senior Center. All classes will resume in January 2013 and run through June 2013.

For more information or to register for winter classes, please call Patti-Lyn Bell at 206-684-0639 (Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays).  


(by Patti-Lyn Bell) 

Upcoming Events


Upcoming Mayor's Office for Senior Citizens Coffee Hours

Thursday, January 10, 2013, 11:00 a.m. - noon, Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St., Seattle.  Alain Rhone, Senior Information and Assistance Advocate, Keeping Your Home, Your Body and Your Wallet Healthier

Thursday, January 17, 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., Central Building, 810 3rd Ave., Seattle, 1st floor Conference Room, A Conversation with Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Wednesday, January 22, 2013, 10:00  - 11:00 a.m., Four Freedoms House of Seattle Senior Community, 747 N 135th St., Seattle. Terrie Johnston, Crime Prevention Coordinator, City of Seattle, Seattle Police Department, Staying Safe, A Conversation on Crime Prevention

Thursday, Feb 7; 11:00 a.m. - noon, Garfield Community Center, 2323 E Cherry St. Jean Mathisen, AARP Fraud Fighter Call Center Coordinator, on scams and identity theft

Thursday, February 21, 2013, 10:00  - 11:00 a.m., A Conversation with Jesse Eller, Director of Aging and Disability Services, Human Services Department, City of Seattle. Central Building, 810 3rd Avenue, Seattle, 1st floor Conference Room.

More Events

Saturday, November 17, 2012, 9:00 a.m. -  4:00 p.m. Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center - 17620 International Blvd, Seattle. 2012 HOPE Conference on Parkinson's. Educational symposium featuring Rich Clifford, retired NASA astronaut, on his journey with Parkinson's Disease. $35. Call 1-877-980-7500 or register online at nwpf.org.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - Tuesday, January 1, 2013, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, Sheraton Hotel, 1400 6th Ave., Seattle, 20th Annual Gingerbread Village, Local architecture firms team up with the Sheraton Seattle culinary team to make amazing gingerbread creations.

November 17- November 28, Fairmont Olympic Hotel, 411 University St., Seattle, 35th Annual Festival of Trees, A display of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, each with its own theme and style, and each dedicated to a patient at Seattle Children's Hospital.

Friday, November 23, Parade begins at 9:00 a.m., Tree Lighting at 5:00 p.m., Downtown and Westlake Center, Macy's Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Celebration. Decorations are up, and the Holiday Carousel is operating.

Friday, November 23 - Monday, December 31, 7:00 p.m. Nightly, Bellevue Way and NE 8th St., Bellevue. Snowflake Lane. A display of holiday lights, music, dramatic drumming from live toy soldiers, magical snow, Snow Queen and King, and Sugar Plum Fairies.

Tuesday, November 23 - Tuesday, January 1, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m., N 50th St. and Phinney Ave. N Wildlights at Woodland Park Zoo, Adults: $8.50 (Nov. 23 - Dec. 13); $9.50 (Dec. 14 - Jan. 1), Children ages 3-12: $6.50, Toddlers 2 and under: Free. Wildlights features wild animals and places created with thousands of sparkling LED lights. The zoo's historic carousel will be open.

Tuesday, November 23 - Sunday, January 6, Seattle Center. Winterfest at Seattle Center. Six weeks of free and affordable, fun-filled activities and entertainment. Visit the Armory (formerly the Center House)  or explore the enchanting Winter Train and Village. The Ice Rink returns (through Tuesday, January 1), along with music and comedy, jazz and dance, and lots more.

Wednesday, November 24 - Sunday, December 23. Christmas Ships Festival. Each night the Christmas Ship sails to different Puget Sound waterfront communities. On board, choirs sing 20-minute performances broadcast over a speaker system. On shore, people gather around bonfires to watch the flotilla arrive.

Friday, December 7, 5:00 - 6:00 p.m., Pine St. from 3rd to 7th Avenues and at Westlake Park, Great Figgy Pudding Street Caroling Contest. Pre-show entertainment 6:15 p.m. Caroling teams compete on the streets, 7:30 p.m. Main stage sing-off. Free; suggested donation: $10

Friday, December 7, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Volunteer Park Conservatory Holiday Evening Open House. Tour the historic conservatory, see the 2012 holiday display, enjoy live harp music. Free.
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Dannette R. Smith, Director

HSD's mission is to connect people with resources and solutions during times of need so we can all live, learn, work and take part in strong, healthy communities. For more timely or breaking news, visit our blog, Human Interests, or visit our Web site.