Northwest Neighbors Network: Providing services to senior neighbors that help them age well in their own homes

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Photo courtesy Northwest Neighbors Network
By Jerry Patterson

The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” originates from an ancient African proverb and conveys the message that it takes many people (the village) to support a healthy environment for children to develop and flourish.

Now, let’s take the rich meaning of the proverb, fast-forward to today and apply the proverb’s meaning to the other end of the age spectrum, seniors in the community. 

Local villages (neighborhoods) face a challenge similar to the African village: 

How can we support our seniors so they can age well in their own homes and stay engaged in their community?

The Northwest Neighbors Network (NNN) Model

For the past four years a local non-profit organization has passionately accepted the challenge. Northwest Neighbors Network (NNN) serves Shoreline, Lake Forest Park as well as other neighborhoods in North King County and South Snohomish County. NNN's central mission is dedicated to all of us working together to provide services and social interactions that help seniors remain active and engaged and in their community.

Here’s how the model works. Members email, phone or text the service coordination team to request services. NNN had over 300 service requests in August. Volunteers access a secure online system to view the list of service requests. The volunteers sign up for a requested service that works for their schedule and interests. That’s all there is to it.

If you are supportive of the NNN mission and would like to get more involved in serving your local community, NNN encourages you to consider several options.

Option 1: Become a volunteer, the centerpiece to NNN success

Many of our community residents are looking for a chance to volunteer for a worthy cause, but they don’t want to get tied down to rigid schedules or become overly committed.

Vince, a long-time resident in Shoreline, describes his journey to becoming a volunteer for NNN.
“For a few months after I retired, I did various projects around the house. Then I decided it was time for me to figure out how I could give back to the community, particularly our senior community.

"I went to a website, I scrolled down the list to see what I wanted to do. This was all new to me. I came across Northwest Neighbors Network and read their mission statement about supporting our seniors so they can age well in their own homes. I said to myself “What a great idea!” So, I promptly signed up and I’ve really had a blast serving our seniors for about eighteen months now.

"Each week, I go online and look for requests made by NNN members for services such as a ride to a medical appointment, help cleaning their apartment or getting some yard work done. These are the type of things I’ve helped with so far. It’s been a year and a half and it hasn’t gotten old at all.”

When I asked Vince if he had any advice for prospective volunteers or members, he said, “Try it. You may like it. You’ll make new friends, and get a whole new perspective on thinking of things in a different way based on the variety of people you interact with. I average about 3 or 4 trips a week.”

Option 2. Become a member and start enjoying the many benefits NNN extends to seniors

NNN is dedicated to enriching the lives of our seniors by offering them a rich array of services and events. Nona is one of the more than 100 members benefitting from NNN services. In a recent conversation with Nona, she told me how she first learned about NNN and how she feels about the quality of her experiences. 

She said, “A staff member at the Shoreline/Lake Forest Park Senior Center told me about someone using NNN and said I should check it out. Sandy, an NNN board member, came to my house and she was amazing. A real powerhouse. Needless to say, I signed up.”

When asked how she has used NNN services, Nona said, “I mostly use the transportation service provided by NNN. I’ve been so pleased. The drivers that come are just wonderful. I’ve learned so many things about other people’s lives during our drives. It’s been a good thing for me and I would recommend this for anyone in my situation.”

Another member, Susan, said she first learned about NNN by reading an article in the Shoreline Area News. In addition to being a member receiving NNN services, Susan also serves as a volunteer offering services. 

“In my volunteer role, I visit by phone with a person who resides in a rehab facility and is very lonely. I call her every couple of weeks and we just chat. We’re both avid readers so we talk books for about 30 or 40 minutes.”
Option 3: Become an NNN board member

Another way you can contribute to the mission of NNN is to consider serving on the NNN Board of Directors. Perhaps you are recently retired and are looking for ways to give back to your community. Or maybe you have senior loved ones who could benefit from NNN services. As a board member you can have a direct impact in helping us continue to grow our services. If you would like more information or have questions, please see below for contact information.

Option 4: Invest in the NNN mission

If you share the passion for the NNN mission and you want to make a difference in the lives of seniors, we encourage you to invest in NNNs future. Go to the NNN website where you can do one-stop shopping: make a one-time or recurring donation, apply to be a volunteer, member, sponsor, or inquire about applying to serve on the board of directors. 

You can also contact NNN by email or call 253-237-2848. Then spread the word far and wide about NNN and its service to seniors.

Does it cost anything to become a member?

NNN is committed to making services accessible to all. No one will be turned away based on inability to pay.

Recommended dues for those wishing to join as full-service members are $50/month for a household of one or two living at the same address. Recommended annual social membership dues are $120 per person. 

They will work with you to make a payment plan that fits your budget. Please contact them for more information.

Who can join NNN?

People living in the neighborhoods and areas immediately surrounding:
  • Shoreline
  • Lake Forest Park
  • Edmonds
  • Woodway
  • Mountlake Terrace
  • Brier
  • Lynnwood
  • The very northeast corner of Seattle


Anonymous,  September 6, 2023 at 10:54 AM  

Looks like another expensive service?

Anonymous,  September 7, 2023 at 8:40 AM  

Please note that NNN works with people to make their membership fit their budget. Many seniors, myself included, are on fixed incomes with little to spend on such things as transportation, household assistance or engaging a handyman. I'm a volunteer who does yardwork and household tasks whenever I have the time to help.

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