Department of Family Services – Older Adults

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.

TTY 711

12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 708
Fairfax, VA 22035

Trina Mayhan-Webb,
Division Director

Fairfax Area Commission on Aging Meeting Minutes - April 2019


Wednesday, April 17, 2019 — 1-3 p.m.
Mason District Governmental Center
6507 Columbia Pike, Community Room
Annandale, VA 22003


Commissioners Present
Carolyn Sutterfield (Chair), Mike Perel (Vice Chair), Tom Bash, Cathy Cole, Sharon Dreyer, Joseph Heastie, Kathleen Hoyt, Phyllis Palombi, Diane Watson

Commissioners Absent
Kay Larmer (excused), Cathy Muha (excused)

Staff Present
Trina Mayhan-Webb, Linda Hernandez-Giblin, Nana Boateng

Others Present
Bonnie O'Leary, Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons; Paul Wexler, Kristin Roman and Ken Crum, ServiceSource, Inc.; Fran Tunick, Aide to Supervisor Penny Gross; Blanca Calvi, Virginia Hospital Center; Diana King, Resident; Rick Daniels, LLI/NOVA; Brian Henson-Leiva, Angel Senior Home Care; Wahed Hossain; AARP, Tara Turner, ElderLink; Claudia Villa, Disability Services; Mary Jane Dye, Fairfax County Department of Family Services' Adult and Aging Division

Call to Order; Introductions; Additions to Agenda; Approval of the Agenda; Approval of the Minutes
Carolyn called the meeting to order at 1 p.m. Carolyn asked the COA and public to introduce themselves.

Mike asked to add a few announcements to the agenda. Kathleen motioned that the agenda be approved, Phyllis seconded. Diane motioned that the March draft minutes be approved, Mike and Phyllis seconded.

Public Comment
Mason District Police Captain Wright welcomed the group to Mason District. Fran Tunick, Aide to Supervisor Gross also greeted the group.

Presentation: "Miscommunication or Missed Communication? – The Challenges of Hearing Loss"  Bonnie O'Leary, Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC)
Bonnie O'Leary presented the services her organization provides which include education, hearing screening, a new support group and advocacy as well as a website that offers fact sheets ( NVRC does not sell equipment but the public can visit their demonstration site for information about equipment. Ms. O'Leary presented education on hearing loss and how to support those with hearing loss in local communities. One in three people over the age of 65 and two in three over the age of 75 have hearing loss. There is a continuum for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. There are differences in communication preferences, degrees and types of hearing loss, suddenness and age of onset. Influencing factors include age, gender, culture, support system, financial stability, behavioral patterns and cognitive abilities, and availability of resources.

Mike asked Ms. O'Leary to speak on issues with acoustics. Ms. O'Leary mentioned this as an area of high need to ensure the county is age-friendly. The Reston Community Center serves as a model for acoustics. Mike mentioned his wife found the closed caption phone had too many errors. Ms. O'Leary said that accuracy depends on the model.

A member of the public asked how to get a free hearing screening. NVRC provides free screenings to determine if a person would benefit from a test with an audiologist.

Old Business
Tom, as a member of the Disabilities Services Board, presented a list of limitations of the current Fairfax Alerts system, which the county uses to register individuals to a functional-needs online list. Tom continues to advocate for a pre-notification 911 or Smart 911 (actively used in Alexandria, DC, Prince William and 12 major cities in the US).

Cathy updated the group on the fourth annual Shark Tank competition. This year's winner was a senior assistant button, which enhances existing technology. Cathy also shared that one high school incorporated the contest into their ESOL curriculum, which positively improved testing scores by 20%. The Shark Tank reception will be on May 7, at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Board of Supervisors' meeting, where finalists will be recognized.

Carolyn, Diane and Linda continue to be involved with the Partnership for a Healthier Fairfax's CHIP. Currently, the group is defining strategies around three priority areas. The last meeting included a presentation on cultural and linguistic standards and the difference these standards have made by actively listening to the clients, when the practitioner said, "Tell me your story."

Mike, as a board member of the Fairfax Federation of Citizen Associations, proposed a resolution that would request the Board of Supervisors to increase the outreach/educational efforts of the Silver Shield Campaign to prevent robocalls, specifically for older adults. The Federation will decide on the resolution in upcoming meetings. Carolyn added that in the past the COA has supported the county's move to increase funding for more resources to address scams against older adults.

Mike participated in the NVAN legislative brainstorm to develop the legislative agenda for next year. Mike advocated for anti-scam funding. Mike also advocated for a study to look into the benefit/trade-off of senior discounts for toll roads, similar to New Jersey and DC's Metro.

Diane, a member of the LTCCC has been advocating for the Neighbor to Neighbor or Villages model. Her 55+ community held a health fair that included many county services.

Tom announced that the Disabilities Services Board wishes to publicly thank Mike Perel for his "Think of Me…Keep it Free" signage.

Mike participated in the Jewish Community Center's Positive Aging and Wellness Fair. The AAA and COA hosted a resource table.

Director's Report
Trina thanked Carolyn for her representation at the BOS budget testimony hearing. She went on to state, DARS has a new requirement that AAAs must offer and provide nutrition counseling for clients under the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Services – Service Standards. The AAA is working on developing a procedure to meet this new requirement. Trina also invited the COA to the grand opening for the Lewinsville Center (6/1/19, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.).

Tara Turner, Director of ElderLink, provided an overview of the program, a nonprofit partnership with the AAA that works to maximize independence for older adults and support caregivers. ElderLink offers case management, a bathing and respite program, free caregiver consultations, caregiver support call-in sessions, the Caring For You, Caring For Me Program, falls prevention groups, chronic disease self-management groups, as well as a money management program specifically for the county's clients. A member of the public asked if there is an age limit. ElderLink works with older adults and disabled individuals 18 and older. Diane asked if the public needs to register for the caregiver telephone support group. Tara said there is a registration to receive the code to dial into the group. Mike asked if programs can be offered nights and weekend. Tara is exploring how to offer this for the caregiving class. Cathy added ElderLink is a great program that supports people from a variety of incomes.

Joe asked for a status report on the 50+ Community Action Plan. Carolyn shared the COA is waiting for a report on survey findings due in May. Carolyn mentioned the COA is interested in pursuing the Dementia-Friendly training. Tom and Joe are interested in the development of a final report on the current 50+ Community Action Plan. Trina mentioned a meeting will be set up with Supervisor Herrity regarding the next steps on the 50+ Plan and the Older Adult survey.

New Business
The COA is encouraged to participate in the Dementia-Friendly America training. Trina will send the link to register for the May 29 training at Insight Memory Care.

Carolyn provided an update on the Countywide Strategic Plan. Almost 15,000 people filled out the survey and 1,013 participated in focus groups. The priorities that emerged include Education and Lifelong Learning, Mobility and Transportation, Safety and Security, Housing and Neighborhood Livability, Economic Opportunity, Health and Environment, Cultural and Recreational Opportunities, Self-Sufficiency for Vulnerable Populations, and Efficient and Effective Government. The county has formed work groups to develop the strategic plan for each priority area. For more information, search: Strategic Plan on Joe thanked the chair for keeping the COA informed. Mike asked if the 50+ Community Action Plan will need to be aligned under the county's strategic plan. Carolyn mentioned this will be a question to address later.

Mike mentioned the Scam Jam on April 27 ( and 50+ Employment Event on April 30 (

Mike offered to help COA members and attendees ensure their cars are officially CarFit after the meeting.

Cathy motioned that the meeting be adjourned. Mike seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 3 p.m.

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