Area Plan

Creating Elder-Friendly Communities
To Obtain a Hard Copy of the Current Area Plan
2020-2023 NWRC Strategic Plan Area Plan  (DSHS) Version


One of the most important activities of an Area Agency on Aging is the creation of a four year Area Plan that focuses on the needs of older people and people with disabilities, as well as community strengths and challenges.

The plan development process is mandated by the federal Older Americans Act, which establishes Area Agencies on Aging, and must be written in a format prescribed by the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Aging and Disability Services Administration (ADSA.)

NWRC staff and advisory board members (please link to NWSSB webpage) work over a year in the plan development process, gathering information and seeking input from the community. The resulting Area Plan sets the stage for the work of the NWRC over a four year period and is the foundation for workplans, funding priorities, and planning efforts to provide services for people who are older or who need long term care in Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties.

The Area Plan includes:

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Creating Elder-Friendly Communities

NWRC’s Area Plan focuses on developing “elder ready” communities. An “elder-ready” community is a community that is supportive of the needs of older people and can provide elders with a safe, healthy, and productive environment. Such an environment meets basic needs, assures physical and mental health and well-being, supports the independence of frail and disabled elders, and fosters social and civic engagement. Such communities are also likely to be supportive of people with disabilities of all ages as well. (For detail on the Elder Friendly Model, see

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The Area Plan is a true community effort, involving consumers, caregivers, providers, support groups, advocacy groups, community organizations, and the community at large to the greatest extent possible to create a plan that addresses many needs and issues. The advisory board (Northwest Senior Services Board) is heavily involved in all phases of the process, as is the NWRC governing board.

Significant activities in development of the Area Plan include:

  • Research on specific issue areas
  • Client and caregiver telephone interviews
  • Community survey booklet
  • Community forums and focused forums
  • Planning work groups
  • NWSSB and NWRC input
  • Public hearings
  • Final plan completion and state approval
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To Obtain a Hard Copy of the Area Plan

Contact us at: (360) 676-6749  – Whatcom County
(800) 585-6749  – outside Whatcom County