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Senior Resources » Advocating for Retirees in Senior Living

Advocating for Retirees in Senior Living

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Courtesy of Era Living, Suzanne is joined by Stefanie Starkovich, Executive Director of the UW Retirement Association. The association is an independent 501(c)(3) organization, powered by dues-paying members and member volunteers, and supported by the University of Washington. Stefanie talks about what’s available in this organization to enrich retired seniors.

Stefanie says, “We really serve the diverse community of retired faculty and staff of the university. So, right now, that’s about 10,000 living individuals. And it really runs the spectrum from faculty who taught at the university, to custodial and facility staff, to the professional staff who work in academic and student services, clinicians, and nurses, and other clinical staff in UW medicine’s various hospitals and facilities. So it’s this really rich and diverse body of folks. We like to say we’re a little bit like an alumni association, but the distinction for us is instead of spending four years affiliated with the institution, our members tend to have spent 30 or 40 years working for the institution. So they have a deep and abiding commitment to the university that really doesn’t need to end simply because they’re no longer drawing a paycheck.”

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The association’s connection to Era Living “actually goes back to the very reason that the organization was founded. Back in 1975, the retirement association was established by a group of faculty and staff. At that point in time, part of their purpose was to explore housing options for retirement, faculty, and staff of the university. They saw a real need, and so thus began a rather long odyssey. I think that idea sounded much easier than it proved to be in practice. And the board and its committees worked for a number of years to sort of figure out, what does that actually mean to pursue that kind of retirement housing? When Era Living opened Ida Culver House in partnership with the Seattle Education Association, that’s when Era Living as an organization came to the attention of the Retirement Association. And they thought, what an interesting partnership with an interesting commitment. And that is actually the beginning of that partnership.”

Stefanie adds, “Our members experience a really rich sort of set of perks and privileges. Our members enjoy priority access to the waitlist for University House Wallingford, which can be really quite valuable because communities are in high demand. And as you can imagine, when you’re ready to make that decision, it can be really reassuring to feel like you’ve got kind of an inside track on getting space. There are some financial incentives as well for our members, but really what’s important to them is priority access. And also knowing that at University House, those other connections to the School of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy, and the school, all of the services provided at University House are really steeped in the latest research and the latest practices in terms of clinicians.”

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Originally published November 27, 2023

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