Fairfax 50+ Action Plan Released at Board of Supervisors Meeting


Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
publicaffairs@fairfaxcounty.gov

Oct. 15, 2007

Fairfax 50+ Action Plan Released at Board of Supervisors Meeting

Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors released an action plan today in anticipation of the “silver tsunami,” a demographic shift that is projected to result in a 32 percent increase in adults ages 50+ in Fairfax County by 2020.

“Anticipating the Future: Fairfax 50+ Action Plan 2007” is the first product of the board’s focus on the opportunities and challenges of this demographic shift; a shift that will affect programs and services countywide. The board began this project in January 2006 with the formation of the Committee on Aging, the first new board committee in more than a decade. Issues tackled by the committee to date, with the aid of experts in each field, include the critical and interdependent issues of housing, community planning, care giving, health, mental health, transportation, technology and diversity.

“Our older adults are increasingly choosing to keep Fairfax County as their home. By acting now, we’ll ensure that the county remains aging friendly,” said Connolly.

The Fairfax 50+ Action Plan is not a report on the actions taken but the actions to be taken to ensure the needs and talents of those 50+ are included in the future of the community. It is organized into 11 focus areas and is a starting point for moving toward a more aging-friendly Fairfax County. The focus areas will become a score card for the community to use in the future:

  • Are we engaging older adults with a wealth of talents and skills as employees, entrepreneurs, volunteers and community activists?

  • Are we supporting caregivers?

  • Are we using advances in technology that will allow older adults greater independence?

  • Are we creating and revitalizing Fairfax County to enable independence and are we including design elements of a livable community for all ages?

  • Are we providing housing options that meet the needs of every age and are easily adaptable?

  • Are we addressing the affordability of housing, programs and services to a segment of the population that is likely to have limited resources?
  • Are we ensuring independence through transportation planning that includes a range of options for older adults?

  • Are we building on the diversity of our population to enhance the cultural richness of our community and services?

  • Are we ensuring that our health care and mental health care systems keep pace with the aging of our population?

  • Are we enhancing the personal safety and security of our older adults through emergency preparedness and consumer education?

  • Are we planning appropriately in the community for an increased demand for older adult services?

This action plan outlines the work that must be done to answer these questions. It marks a shift in how the county plans, so that when policy decisions are made the questions asked include: “What is the impact on older adults? What opportunities does this new policy provide?”

“Today’s older adults have a history of giving back to our community. We must ensure that every opportunity is in place for the boomers to follow their lead,” said Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman, chair of the board’s Committee on Aging.

In releasing Fairfax 50+ Action Plan, the Board of Supervisors is setting the agenda for the future and focusing the communitywide discussion that will continue as Fairfax County prepares for this demographic shift. A survey of thousands of communities in September 2006 found that the majority of local governments had not begun planning for the inevitable demographic shift (“The Maturing of America – Getting Communities on Track for an Aging Population” by the International City/County Management Association, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities and Partners for Livable Communities). Fairfax County is unique because its planning has taken place hands-on at the highest level – the elected official level – and builds on the solid comprehensive demographic study “Anticipating the Future – A Discussion of Trends in Fairfax County (2006)” initiated by the Board of Supervisors in May 2004.

The work of the board’s Committee on Aging and this action plan have begun to take hold within county government as departments begin to integrate aging-friendly policy into future plans. “Since so much of our work force is part of this demographic sea change, they have embraced the chance to make needed changes and set a high standard for other levels of government to follow,” said Connolly.

More than 60 initiatives are planned, including flexible, meaningful volunteer opportunities, health promotion activities, development of respite options for caregivers, increased education about subprime lending targeted to older adults and staff training on identifying elder abuse.

The full plan is available online at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/olderadults.
For more information about the Fairfax 50+ Action Plan and/or to get a printed copy, contact the Department of Family Services, Area Agency on Aging at 703-324-5411, TTY 711 or e-mail dfsaaaplanning@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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