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King County program helps seniors find answers
As people age, they find themselves confronted with a number of issues related to aging, many of which are complicated and involve complex legalities or other equally tricky pathways to navigate.
Here in Federal Way and in greater King County, one program that helps seniors navigate these kinds of issues is the Senior Rights Assistance (SRA) program.
The program is offered through King County Senior Services, said Camille Gabriel, program coordinator for SRA.
“The program helps clients answer questions and guide them through issues like power of attorney, wills, consumer issues, debt, end of life planning and social security. It also helps with guardianship and landlord/tenant issues,” she said.
According to Gabriel, SRA has numerous sites throughout King County, but any person in need is able to call the SRA’s hotline at (206) 448-5720.
“If they wanted advice over the phone, or a legal clinic appointment, they can call in any time and a volunteer will get back to them within a week,” Gabriel said.
All of the volunteers in the program are trained through SRA’s in-house program. While that makes them knowledgable about many of the issues facing seniors, the volunteers can’t offer actual legal advice.
Instead, SRA is able to draw help from local lawyers to help those in need.
“We have a connection with the King County Bar Association, and we offer legal clinics at the Kent Senior Activity Center,” Gabriel said. “(This happens) every Friday throughout the month, and clients can meet with an attorney for a free half hour consultation, which is great.”
Gabriel said SRA tends to see a drop in activity during the summer months, and that usually the holidays see the greatest amount of activity for SRA.
She feels this is because people get together with their families during the holidays, which makes it a ripe opportunity for seniors and their loved ones to begin tackling these difficult issues.
For the most part, Gabriel hopes more and more seniors throughout the county and region are aware that programs like SRA exist.
“I think it’s really just making sure that people know this help is available,” she said. “It’s completely free, and it’s a safe environment for people to call in and talk about what issues people face. A lot of people have questions, and assistance is available if they need it.”
Those interested can call SRA at (206) 448-5720 or can visit www.seniorservices.org.