Help Us Lay the Groundwork for Aging and Disability Services

8 post-its on a checkered background, each with a potential aging services priority: housing options, aging priorities, caregiving and caregiver support, mental health services, social participation, memory loss, disability/accessibility, reliable transportation

Every four years, Aging and Disability Services—along with the other 600+ Area Agencies on Aging across the United States—develops an Area Plan that focuses on the needs of older people, adults with disabilities, and caregivers. The plan considers data, best practices in the field of aging and disability services and for healthy aging, and input from the public. It lays the groundwork for the state and federal funding our agency receives and the services and supports our agency provides to the people of King County.

The Area Plan development process is mandated by the federal Older Americans Act, which established Area Agencies on Aging in 1973—50 years ago next month. The format for the plan is established by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Aging and Long-Term Supports Administration (ALTSA).

ADS Advisory Council members have participated in multiple planning meetings, and I am happy to tell our readers that there has never been as strong an emphasis on racial equity and the elimination of disparities that currently exist among people of color as there is this year. And there is still much work to be done.

Area plan for engagement survey image.I encourage you to help with this work. Please complete the 2023 Area Plan Engagement Survey (on or before April 15). It should take you about 10 minutes. The information collected will help inform priorities for the next four years.

The ADS Advisory Council will review the first draft Area Plan for 2024–2027 in July and approve the plan, along with our Seattle Human Services, King County Department of Community and Human Services, and Public Health—Seattle & King County partners, prior to its submittal to the State Unit on Aging this fall. It is an important task, and tens of thousands of older people and adults with disabilities, plus their families, depend on Aging and Disability Services’ success.

Grateful for Public Health—Seattle & King County Partnership

April 3–9 is National Public Health Week and I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the outstanding support that Aging and Disability Services receives from Public Health—Seattle & King County. As an Area Agency on Aging, Aging and Disability Services had an existing partnership with Public Health when the COVID-19 pandemic began, which made it easy for staff to collaborate on public information and outreach related to masks, quarantine, testing, and vaccination. Currently, Caren Goldenberg represents Public Health at ADS Advisory Council meetings. She is a program manager working on COVID vaccine strategies for special populations. We appreciate Caren’s involvement. We remain grateful for our partnership with Public Health—Seattle & King County and honor them during National Public Health Week.

Joe HaileyContributor Joe Hailey chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (

This article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of AgeWise King County.