Ketty Hsieh. Courtesy photo.

For the elderly population in the Chinatown-International District (CID), there is a great and growing need for both short and long-term care. 

Such needs are fulfilled by Kin On, a South Seattle-based eldercare nonprofit that serves nearly 1,000 people through social services, rehabilitation, home care, and more. 

Following the departure of former CEO Min Chang, Ketty Hsieh, a Kin On board member, was announced as Kin On’s new CEO beginning in June, after a two-month search. As well as her experience on the Kin On Board, Hsieh is a former Vice President of Finance for Western Washington at the Polyclinic and the Everett Clinic with Optum. 

In addition to furthering her work in healthcare, Hsieh saw Kin On as an opportunity to get closer to her Asian roots. With the growing rise of anti-Asian discrimination, Hsieh wished to get more involved with the local Asian community.

Eldercare can be a difficult field to work in at times, yet Hsieh has found Kin On’s staff to be extremely kindhearted and dedicated, crafting and maintaining a tight-knit community.

“Working here at Kin On is really gratifying in a way that is just very warm,” Hsieh said. “Just last week, one of the housekeepers made a giant pot of red bean soup, a delicious Asian dessert. And somebody brought me a bowl of that, and it just kind of warms my heart that they’ll bring food and they’ll share, and they remember me, so that was just really nice.” 

According to Hsieh, Kin On still faces challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, including health concerns and staffing shortages. Many of Kin On’s long-term staff have also reached retirement age, bringing forth a new generation of health care workers for the organization.

“Working with new team leaders is definitely one of those situations where you lose some institutional knowledge … [but it] also provides an opportunity for us to bring new fresh ideas and look at how we do things and see where we can improve,” Hsieh said.

Now, Hsieh is focused on bringing Kin On back to its total operational and financial capacity, up to pre-pandemic levels. Kin On’s nursing home occupancy, which ran at around 97% before the pandemic, dropped sharply as families moved their elders back home to avoid outbreaks.

“We are back in the high 70s low 80s range, but we still have room to grow,” Hsieh said. “Making sure that we have a sound and solid financial foundation to move forward, and [then] we can start thinking about growth.”

Kin On, Hsieh said, is more than just a nursing home — it’s a network of care, activities, and community that interact to improve the lives of Asian elders. Through their myriad services, Hsieh intends to not just match Kin On’s past level of quality, but surpass it.

“Our community centers here and on the Eastside and also virtually are providing these programs so that the seniors can continue to be engaged and avoid social isolation,” Hsieh said. “We want to make sure that our community understands we have this whole spectrum of services that we offer.”

Kin On’s main campus is located at 4416 S Brandon St. in Columbia City. Their CID office is at 900 S Jackson St. #219.

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