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 - October 2019


Wednesday, October 16, 2019 — 1-3 p.m.
Sully Kings Park Library
9000 Burke Lake Road, Meeting Room
Burke, VA 22015


Commissioners Present
Carolyn Sutterfield (Chair), Mike Perel (Vice Chair), Tom Bash, Martha Cooper, Joe Heastie, Kathleen Hoyt, Kay Larmer, Cathy Muha, Phyllis Palombi, Diane Watson

Commissioners Absent
Cathy Cole (excused), Sharron Dreyer (excused)

Staff Present
Trina Mayhan-Webb, Jacquie Woodruff, Maria Loh

Others Present
W. Scott Schroth, Shepherd's Center of Oakton-Vienna; Kristin Roman, ServiceSource; Sheldon Richter, Resident; Kayleigh Walker, Wesley Housing; Grace Nozaki, Community Services Board; Blanca Cali, Virginia Hospital Center; Allegra Joffe, CareRing

Call to Order
Chair Carolyn Sutterfield called the meeting to order at 1 p.m. Vice Chair Mike Perel welcomed everyone to Braddock District and stated that Braddock District had the highest response rate and highest number of respondents for the 50+ Community Survey.

The Commission on Aging (COA) members introduced themselves.

Martha Cooper, the newly appointed City of Falls Church Commissioner, introduced herself. She served as a VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) volunteer after college and is now a certified mediator. She has been involved in her parents' lives and living arrangements as they have aged. She would like to apply her conflict resolution skills to helping families dealing with aging-related issues.

Introductions; Additions to Agenda; Approval of the Agenda; Approval of the Minutes
Mike requested that his legislative proposal through the Fairfax Federation of Citizens Associations be added to "New Business." Carolyn noted that Matt Barkley is unable to attend the meeting. Kay motioned that the agenda with changes be approved. Diane seconded.

Carolyn noted that Kathy Hoyt was absent for the September meeting and that, in the list of suggested Board of Supervisors' Committee names, "Older Adults" should be plural. Kathy Hoyt motioned that the amended minutes be approved. Mike seconded.

Carolyn asked the members of the public to introduce themselves.

Public Comment
No public comment.

Presentation: Social Isolation and Loneliness of Older Adults – Grace Nozaki, Senior Clinician, Community Services Board
Grace Nozaki provided an overview on aging and loneliness. She stated that as a clinician, she leans toward specificity and exactness. Loneliness isn't the same as depression, although depression and loneliness are overlapping aversive states. Living alone is also not necessarily the same as loneliness. Even so, social isolation is a major correlate for loneliness. We are social beings.

Factors that come with aging that increase isolation and chronic loneliness include poor health, loss of mobility, loss of hearing, less income, dilution of intimate relationships due to deaths and adult children moving away or busy, and loss of connection with neighbors. Thirty-three percent of midlife and older adults who have spoken to their neighbors are lonely, compared to 61% who have never spoken to a neighbor. The simple act of saying hello and striking up a conversation with your neighbor can make a huge difference for someone who feels isolated.

Chronic loneliness can trigger a cascade of behavioral and biological processes that have profound physiological and medical consequences, according to Steve Cole, Social Genomics Core Laboratory, UCLA. The epidemiology of suicides still identifies older Caucasian men as the demographic group most at risk for completed suicides.

Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad's research found that chronic loneliness has the same physiological impact as smoking 15 cigarettes per day. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recommended that loneliness be targeted in public health campaigns.

Fairfax County demographics show that the community is becoming older and more diverse.

Grace recommends open communications about diversity and consideration of an Inclusion Council, encouraging people to say hello to their neighbors, and engaging older adults in outreach efforts.

Carolyn thanked Grace for her presentation and stated that the COA is committed to OneFairfax and to meaningful work. Grace stated that Director of Herndon Community Center Ruth Junkin models good inclusion for older adults from diverse backgrounds.

Mike stated that 31% of the 50+ Community Survey respondents reported feeling lonely or isolated, but with not much difference by age cohort.

Carolyn stated that the Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) legislative platform includes an item that would direct DARS to identify actions that could improve the health and enhance the quality of life for those who experience loneliness and/or isolation.

Diane stated that the 50+ Community Ambassadors and the Community Health Improvement Plan both also address this issue.

Old Business
Trina offered her Director's Report on the 2020 SHAPE the Future of Aging Planning Process.

On October 15, in response to Supervisor Herrity's Board Matter, the Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved the title, categories, and 2020 planning timeline for the next BOS aging plan.

2020 SHAPE the Future of Aging

  • Services for Older Adults & Family Caregivers (caregiver support, dementia friendly, resources)
  • Housing & Neighborhood Supports (affordable housing, home modifications, home maintenance, villages, livable communities)
  • Access to Mobility Options (transportation, mobility support, walkability)
  • Personal Well-Being (community engagement, isolation, public & mental health, nutrition)
  • Economic Stability and Planning (financial stability, exploitation, employment, end of life, business partnerships) 

Planning Process Timeline

  • Early March – Launch SHAPE the Future of Aging Planning Process
    • Board Matter
    • Press Release
    • SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan Website
  • April to June – 3 Community Forums and Focus Groups
  • Summer – Staff drafts new SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan
  • September – Older Adults Committee Meeting
  • October – BOS approves SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan

The five categories of SHAPE the Future of Aging categories have been cross walked with the nine categories of the Fairfax County Strategic Plan.

Trina reported that Supervisor Herrity thanked the COA for their suggestions for a new name for the BOS 50+ Committee. The BOS voted to rename the committee the "Older Adults Committee."

The COA will ensure that the SHAPE initiatives align with the OneFairfax equity lens goals.

Tom distributed information about Pre-Notification 911 and the Fairfax Alerts Functional Needs Registry. Tom stated that the Functional Needs Registry isn't connected to 9-1-1. According to the Office of Emergency Management, the Functional Needs Registry is a tool for Fairfax County in pre-event emergency planning, resource management and communicating with people with functional needs. It is not an emergency response system.

Pre-notification 9-1-1 is a database providing 9-1-1 call takers and other first responders with supplemental critical care and rescue information that may be useful during an emergency. If a person in distress contacts 9-1-1 from a registered phone – landline or mobile – and pre-notification 9-1-1 has been installed in that area, his or her safety profile is automatically displayed to the nearest 9-1-1 dispatcher. One leading program, Smart911, is currently in 45 states and more than 3,000 communities, including Alexandria, Prince William County, and Washington, DC.

Carolyn stated that Pre-Notification has been part of the 50+ Plan and only lacks funding.

Cathy Muha visited Crossways Community in Kensington, Maryland. Crossways Community is an intergenerational community applying the Montessori philosophy and is part of the collaboration with the National Center for Montessori and Aging.

Cathy Muha and Maria Loh visited the George Mason University greenhouse and learned about self-sustaining hydroponically grown microgreens. Cathy and Maria are exploring how to apply this approach to a pilot project at a senior housing site. The Sully Senior Center director has expressed interest in their gardening project. Cathy and Maria would like to expand the gardening project to include food insecurity questions for participants.

Kay stated that Meadows Farms built a wheelchair garden.

Diane stated that the Dementia Friends training was presented at the 50+ Community Ambassadors meeting and Diane's Spring Hill Village.

New Business
Allegra Joffey, CareRing Supervisor, presented an overview of CareRing, a program of PRS CrisisLink. CareRing is a daily outbound calling telephone program designed to help individuals who are living alone (due to age, disability, or chronic illness) maintain independence and remain connected to the community. Each CareRing client is provided depression, social, and environmental screening upon intake and throughout their time in the program. Each day, volunteer CareRing team members call clients for informal chats about general well-being, eating, remembering appointments, taking medications, and emotional well-being. CareRing is a free service provided by PRS CrisisLink and funded by community donors and public and private grants. CareRing contact information is 703-516-6769, TTY 711;

Mike serves on the Human Services Committee of the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Associations. As part of the Federation's legislative platform, Mike proposed support for an intergenerational student housing initiative at state universities. The proposed legislation would initiate and fund a pilot program at George Mason University to help match students looking for lower cost off-campus housing with older residents who want to share their home in return for below market rent and help with some chores.

Carolyn, Mike, Trina, and Jacquie will meet Michael Becketts, the new Department of Family Services Director.

Kathy Hoyt announced that the nurse coordinator at Lincolnia Adult Day Health Care Center is retiring.

NV Rides' five-year anniversary event will be held on October 18 at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.

Kathy Hoyt motioned that the meeting be adjourned. Diane seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 2:58 p.m.

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