From The Forums

 Westside Neighbors Network Forum  April 13, 2017

Attendees shared what were, for them, right now, the realities of community in West Seattle and aging in West Seattle; how they thought it got to be that way; and how they felt about it. These answers were not recorded.  Answers to all of the ensuing questions were written down by folks either on 3x5 cards or on easel pad paper.  Their answers have been transcribed verbatim and grouped thematically for this Collective Statement.  Italicized words were inserted only to clarify.  If we could not read someone’s writing, it was entered here as [unreadable]. 

What is the worst possible outcome, for you, of the current situation concerning community in West Seattle and aging in West Seattle and how do you feel about it?

·   That I age out of the community I lived and aged in, and it becomes unrecognizable and unfriendly to me.

·   That it forgets what I meant to it.  Not being valued as part of the society.  Being invisible. 

·   I’m physically deteriorating and isolated.  Isolation and loneliness.  Loneliness and isolation for some.

·   [As a] person, loss of both physical and intellectual faculties.  I feel anxious.

·   Not safe, not walkable, no transit.  Re the community, No improvement.  No growth in community. 

What is the best possible outcome, for you, of community in West Seattle and of aging in West Seattle and how do you feel about it?

·   Being a part of an active vibrant community in which I can make a contribution and be supported in return.  Find resources for myself and able to help others.  That it grows with me, that I participate in the changes, and I’m not run over by them. 

·   That it remembers my contributions and my existence within it.

·   Ability to interact with variety of people of diverse backgrounds and various ages.  I feel excited.

·   Safe, walkable, reliable transit that people are comfortable using.  To do so [i.e., interact with people] without transportation issues.

·   Contentment for the elderly.  Best for me: stay in home; network of friends and family; peaceful heart; content.

What are all the reasons people will give that this best possible outcome will be impossible to achieve?

·   Too hard.  Too much time.  Too costly in terms of time, money.  No money.  No time.

·   Not a joiner.  Can’t get there.  Too tired.

·   Human nature to resist change.  Obstacles can never be overcome. 

·   No support.  Others not having the same priorities as you. 

What are the new beliefs and behaviors folks will need to learn in order to make the best possible outcome happen?

·   A willingness to put in the time and energy to create and be part of a community.  Find ways to be part of community [unreadable]; be present in this community.  Believe that community is important. 

·   Desire to broaden personal networks – to reach outside of what they currently live in.

·   Acceptance.  Compassion.  Love.  Openness.  Kindness.  Loss of self-centeredness.

·   Respect those that came before you and embrace the character of the community before attempting to change it.

What are strategies and actions that will reflect those new beliefs and behaviors and make the best possible outcome happen?

·   Grassroots growth with superstructure. 

·   Keep a record in order to set priorities

·   Promote vibrant communication

·   Educate people on benefits: mental, physical, keep younger, share experiences.  Make clear how people can benefit individually.

·   Create communities that people want to be a part of.  Demonstrate what a good vital community looks like.

·   Make community accessible (make it easy).  Transportation: facilitate intergenerational interaction.

·   Find out what came before you (value history)

If folks work together to build a Village on the Westside, what is your vision of community on the Westside and of aging on the Westside in 20 years?

·   A self-supporting group of people – multi-generational – who support each other through their presence and availability, creating a sense of place, a sense of security and belonging for its members.  Have multi-generational connections. 

·   Housing clusters including gardens (vegetables & flowers).  Walking access to various stores.  Bike paths – open roads (less traffic) – walking paths. 

·   Reliable safe transportation.  A facilitator (many) to coordinate transportation for participants. 

·   Easy access to arts, crafts, cultural events.  People can be grouped or identified by interest, hobby, etc., so places for activities can be identified.  Lots of movement between people and activities is the goal.

·   Successful program with many happy participants. 

How do you feel about this vision?

·   Aging will be awesome.

·   I would like to belong to this village.

·   If it works (meetings, interests), I’d like to live longer.  I won’t die alone (excluding immediate family).  More life in my years!

What is the first step that will need to be taken to realize this vision?

·   Bring people together & build the grassroots.  Communicate to enough people this vision so there can be a grassroots movement to create it.  Organize grassroots to build/establish solid foundation from which to grow.

·   Meetings are necessary turf-builder.  Communicate the positive aspects of villages.

·   Create a virtual gathering place that is useful, comfortable, and easy.  Embracing technology and social media to stay connected, because the aging population will understand it better [unreadable].  [unreadable] opportunities to stay connected.

Westside Neighbors Network Forum April 22, 2017

The Forum started out with people going around the circle, introducing themselves, and sharing their relationship to West Seattle; their expectations for this forum about having a village on the Westside; and how they felt about being here at the forum. 

Folks then went around the circle and shared what were, for them, right now, the realities of community in West Seattle and aging in West Seattle; how they thought it got to be that way; and how they felt about it. 

These answers were not recorded.  Answers to all of the ensuing questions were written down by folks either on 3x5 cards or on easel pad paper.  Their answers to each question have been transcribed verbatim and grouped thematically for this Collective Statement.  Italicized words were inserted only to clarify.  If we could not read someone’s writing, it was entered here as [unreadable]. 

What is the worst possible outcome, for you, of the current situation concerning community in West Seattle and aging in West Seattle and how do you feel about it?

·   Found On Road Dead and no one recognizes me.  Alonenivity.  Rejection (being rejected).  Isolation.  Non-stimulation.  Oblivion.

·   No one knows me & I don’t know anyone else & I don’t have the financial resources to move to a different situation.

·   Unable to maintain independent living due to inability to get to appointments or food or to social activities.  That I would have to leave West Seattle.

·   Nothing changes.

·   I feel scared, hopeless, & alone.  I feel stuck.

What is the best possible outcome, for you, of community in West Seattle and of aging in West Seattle and how do you feel about it?

·   Two year old makes me a birthday card with help from dad, who I helped through a rough patch in his life by tutoring and finding odd jobs in my neighborhood.  Two year old eats my birthday cake at a block party thrown by neighbors for all the birthdays that month.

·   Belonging.  Acceptance.  Reciprocity.  Wholeness.  Connectedness.  Stimulation, adventure, learning.  I find more friends & positive social interaction.  We do healthy things together, walk, laugh, move, create, make a difference in the world around us.  I know and like a group(s) of people who aren’t going away.  We know each other, help each other, have fun together, have a life together.

·   I could stay in my present home.  Able to maintain independent living, e.g., get to appointments, food, socialize

·   I feel sunny, safe, and calm.

·   How do I feel about it – not hopeful.  I think we need a “reason” to come together that is more than creating community – like: book club, sport team, author’s group, etc.

What are all the reasons people will give that this best possible outcome will be impossible to achieve?

·   Fierce independence.

·   Want instant results.  Results not guaranteed.

·   $$$

·   People already have their communities.  My family should do it.

·   It’s inconvenient – takes too much effort.  Obligations.  Too busy/time.  I’m too busy.  Too busy.  Too much effort. 

·   Too risky.  Lack of trust.  No interest in building trust.  Suspicion.  Racial fears.  I don’t want strangers in my home.  I don’t know anyone nearby.

·   People are afraid, physically, emotionally.  Many people are introverts.  Calls for vulnerability.

·   Depression.  I’m not good enough.  People don’t care.

What are the new beliefs and behaviors folks will need to learn in order to make the best possible outcome happen?

·   Building community is continuous, free, will make you feel better.  People of all ages are needed to make this happen.  Network of folks to help.  Belief that each of us has a contribution to make.

·   If a network doesn’t exist, being part of the solution.  Taking responsibility

·   Trust.  Trust people who aren’t family.

·   Acceptance of differences.  Focus on areas of agreement and tolerate/live with the rest – we don’t have to be the same to relate through values we do hold in common.  Compassion; empathy.

·   Curiosity is good.  Experimenting is good.  Sharing time and talent is good.  Make changes.  Choices.

·   Staying healthy. 

·   Aging in place is the goal.

Community-Building Activities

What are Social Events that YOU would go to?

·   Get to Know Your Neighbor activities in parks & gathering places INVOLVING *FOOD.*  Breakfast/Food event (potluck/restaurant). 

·   Multigenerational Community Service Project – for people of all skill levels.  Multigenerational Science Field trips – something of interest.

·   Rare & unusual animals, objects.

·   Hug Day – for those who love hugs.

·    “Unplugged week” as in turn off the electronics and talk to people.

·   Common activity – authors, book club – open to all.  Book club.  Walking club.  Hiking group.  Meditation group/ yoga.  Bike ride in a flat closed route. 

·   Progressive conversation/dinner.  Coffee Klatch. 

·   Poetry slam.  Plays in the park.  Theatre club.  Outdoor concerts/ open mike.

What would enable you to actually go to a Social Event?

·   Coordinator. 

·   Communication system to get people involved & engaged.  Having info about event. 

·   Easy access.  Carpooling. 

·   Consistent venues.  Varied times.

·   Low cost/reasonable/no cost

·   Invite intergenerational.

·   Minimal commitment/no long-term

What should be the first Social Event that Westside Neighbors Network should do?

·   Get to Know Neighbors event with food and goats or camels

 ·   Breakfast/Food event (potluck/restaurant)

 

   

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