Elderhood Senior Alliance's Glenn Harper advocates for seniors


Glenn Harper is a very busy man. 

He works as a certified home care aide and end-of-life doula. He started hosting Death Cafes on Zoom during the pandemic about three years ago and now is up to three in-person monthly Death Cafe events at the Olympia and Lacey senior centers and the Green Lady coffee shop on Pacific in Olympia.

He served on the Lewis Mason Thurston Area Agency on Aging Advisory Council for six years, where he learned a lot about aging resources available to help keep seniors living in their own homes as long as possible.

Among other things, Glenn explained, “Early on, I learned about the negative health effects of loneliness and isolation (worse than smoking about a pack a day) and chaired the newly formed socialization and engagement committee.

Then the pandemic hit and isolation was exacerbated due to the lockdowns. It became apparent to me that the Internet offered a safe way for seniors to stay connected with the larger world, but many didn't have devices and the lockdowns made it difficult to assist them in getting connectivity.”

On the plus side, Zoom became a widely used tool for remote work, telehealth, and video conversations. “Now, everyone could experience what the homebound, who found themselves isolated due to mobility and transportation issues, faced every day,” Glenn said.

Finding the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) was limited in what services they could provide, he began to do some research. How would a nonprofit organization help the AAA’s mission of supporting and enriching the lives of seniors and disabled adults, look like?

“It struck me that the solution to both problems was community, both in terms of physical affordable housing communities and social networks - an elder neighborhood where seniors supported and valued each other - the Elderhood.”

Enter the Elderhood Senior Alliance:

The mission of the Elderhood Senior Alliance is to support the creation of affordable, sustainable housing for seniors, and to create a network of mutual support; enabling seniors to assist each other in maintaining their independence, and allowing them to live in their existing homes for as long as possible.

Techniques and Methods

  1. Senior Housing Alliance – Aligning with other area affordable housing organizations and governmental agencies to lobby for affordable, sustainable senior housing; pursuing grants and other funding opportunities that can contribute to getting more housing built. Exploring opportunities to create “resident-owned” communities in which all resident tenants have a vote on any rent or rate increases and are assured housing if they meet their responsibilities as resident members.
  2. Elderhood Roundtables – Groups of five or more seniors who meet regularly at specific dates and times via Zoom for socialization and discussion of topics in which they share an interest such as grandkids, gardening, pets, aging, and health tips, coping strategies and possible service projects they’d like to undertake as a group.
  3. My 20 Minutes Video Project – A series of 20-minute “legacy” videos encouraging people to tell their stories to the future. The strict 20-minute time limit sets in motion an exercise in assessing priorities as to what is worthy of attention in a limited time – a worthy object of contemplation beyond the confines of the video.

Call to Action:

Service-minded community members are invited to join us in helping to provide an environment where our seniors can thrive and express their unique gifts and be their best elder selves.

Beginning Thursday, May 2nd, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. we will be hosting weekly Zoom Roundtables every Thursday open to anyone who has an interest in connecting with other seniors to discuss challenges that come with aging and share coping strategies or resources, or simply show up for conversation and socialization.

For more information on the Elderhood Senior Alliance and Zoom links go to

For more information on The Death Café meeting dates and locations you can contact Glenn Harper at


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  • GinnyAnn

    The challenges that older people face need to be explained to all the younger generations, especially to those who haven't yet felt the physical limitations of chronic pain. Since the older generation now makes up a much larger proportion of our population, the rest of the younger people shouldn't just ignore those of us who are older. We all live together on this planet. Younger folks should learn to interact with older folks without treating us as feeble-minded or over-the-hill. We may be slower, but we're not stupid. We have a lot of wisdom and a lot of fun still left in us. Don't ignore us as if we're invisible in stores or other public spaces.

    Thursday, May 9 Report this