Aging parents town hall meeting is Tuesday, May 2 at Umpqua Bank in North Bend

One of the great, but largely unfulfilled needs in the Snoqualmie Valley is for a broad range of senior care and services, from affordable housing to skilled nursing facilities.

Valley seniors and their adult children have a few options for some of these services, but only a few, and these programs are often at capacity, with growing waitlists.

A personal experience with this challenge is what prompted Umpqua Bank Assistant Vice President Rob Wotton to organize a free town hall meeting on the subject of aging parents, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 2 at the bank’s Community Room, 146 West Second Street, North Bend.

Wotton and his three siblings have made difficult decisions regarding the care of their mother, Ruth, 88, who has a mild form of dementia, called Lewy’s Syndrome. They initially moved her to an assisted living facility, then to a home with graduated care as her health declined, and Wotton recalled that there were many issues they weren’t prepared for in the process.

“We’re often better prepared at bringing home our newborn child from the hospital than we are at dealing with our aging parents,” Wotton said.

His goal with the town hall meeting, he said, is “to inspire people to ask questions, and then have the right people in the room to answer them.”

Presenters in this event, co-sponsored by the Snoqualmie Valley Chamber of Commerce, include Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, Mt. Si Senior Center, Snoqualmie Valley Transportation, Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank, Verity Care, and the Washington Masonic Charities, an organization that often assists seniors with funding gaps for needed services.

“It’s going to be a very fast-paced hour and a half,” Wotton said, with 15-minute presentations on a variety of topics, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Wotton noted that the Washington Masonic Charities is planning a follow-up meeting 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 13, also at Umpqua Bank.

More options for seniors are available in larger metropolitan areas, Wotton noted, but more are needed in the Valley. A greater awareness of what is already here could help a lot of people, too.

“The (Mt. Si) senior center is a great resource, probably underutilized, and the resources that are available, including the hospital, are relatively unknown,” he said, adding the more well known these facilities are, “and better utilized, especially the hospital, it benefits all of us.”

Presentations will be given in the main area of the Community Room, and the lobby will be reserved for informational displays and smaller conversations.

For more information, contact Wotton at (425) 831-2749, or send email to robertwotton@umpquabank.com.

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