Federal aid going to senior centers

Federal aid going to senior centers

Along with wearing face masks during exercise sessions in senior centers, older adults in King County are also benefitting from federal money that helps the facilities handle the pandemic.

Eighteen senior centers in King County will share $2 million in federal money to help deal with impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county’s Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) is awarding grants in amounts ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 from the American Rescue Plan so that centers can expand programs and maintain critical resources, including rental income support, meal delivery, and staffing.

DCHS officials said a particular emphasis is helping adults have community connections despite social isolation during the pandemic, as lack of social interaction can increase health risks. About 25 percent of people over the age of 50 felt isolated before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that number jumped to more than 50 percent in 2020, officials reported.

King County is like the rest of the U.S. Nationally, senior centers are among the most heavily used services for older adults, according to the National Council on Aging. The council (NCOA), an advocacy organization for seniors, noted gained additional significance during the pandemic as sources of COVID-19-related guidance and vaccinations.

“People who attend senior centers have higher levels of health, social interaction, and life satisfaction,” said Dianne Stone, an associate director of NCOA.