50+ Action Plan: Diversity

Build on strengths of our diverse population to enhance the cultural richness of our community and services.   

If trends continue through 2010, approximately 45 percent of the county’s total population will be racial and ethnic minorities and 39 percent may speak a language other than English at home.

The percentage of ethnic and cultural minorities among the county’s older adults is less than the general population but will increase as the boomers grow older. People of language or cultural minorities are dispersed throughout Fairfax County. The percentage of older adults speaking a language other than English at home doubled between 1980 and 2000 and continues to grow.

There can be significant challenges for older adults isolated by language and/or culture. They often face loneliness and depression, often are unaware of opportunities and services, and sometimes find services culturally inappropriate or difficult to access. Some of our older residents are also dealing with the effects of war and torture in other lands. Older adults from diverse cultures, and the generations that follow, bring significant strengths to our community.   


  • Tap the perspectives and talents of our culturally diverse older population as an integral part of all community planning, service development, and service delivery.

  • Increase availability of culturally appropriate services for older adults through public/private partnerships and support of non-profit initiatives.

  • Create a non-profit grant writing service that employs skilled older adult volunteers as grant writers for community non-profits. This would enable the organizations that serve older adults, and that have staff for whom English is not their first language, to expand services by more effectively competing for grant funding.

  • Increase opportunities for members of our diverse community to learn English. The library offers a comprehensive list of places where individuals may take classes to learn English and to practice English at no charge.


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