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

Golden Gazette

Golden Gazette newsletter banner graphic

2020 October

(Access the printed version.)

two older adults with young child looking at book togetherNew Preparedness Guide for Kinship Families
Kinship families are formed when grandparents, aunts and uncles, other relatives, or close family friends take care of children when their parents are unable to do so due to challenging family situations. Often, the adults in these newly created kinship families do not expect to become caregivers and they need support. Under normal circumstances, kinship families can face significant challenges; during emergencies, including natural disasters or pandemics, the challenges increase. Learn about the Fairfax County Department of Family Services' helpful resources for all kinship families.

Virtual Life Series Provides Connection During COVID-19
The Fairfax County Health Department operates four Adult Day Health Care Centers for older adults who no longer have the capacity for complete independence. On a typical day in any center, upwards of 30 participants congregate together for physical, cognitive, and social activities led by staff. The virtual programs offered by Adult Day Health Care are free of charge and available to everyone. Learn more about how the centers are providing alternative ways to connect

time to schedule your flu vaccine flu vaccination clinics for older adults graphicSchedule Your Flu Vaccine at Select Senior Centers
Each year, influenza—better known as the flu—causes millions of illnesses in the United States, and people age 65 and older account for the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths. An annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick. The Fairfax County Health Department and Department of Neighborhood and Community Services are offering flu vaccination clinics at select senior centers. This service begins in October and is available to residents 18 and older by appointment only. Get more information about locations and make an appointment.

Philip Hirschkop holding dogThe Mettle of Philip Hirschkop
Philip Hirschkop, one of the attorneys who argued the famous United States Supreme Court case of Loving vs. Virginia, explains that the decision not only legalized the Loving’s marriage in Virginia, it also invalidated laws banning interracial marriage in 16 states. The passion in his arguments was rooted in his experience as a Green Beret paratrooper and his earlier civil rights involvement. Learn more about this story.

silhouette of raised hands black and white graphicVolunteer Solutions
Acts of kindness are uplifting—especially now during the pandemic. Volunteer Fairfax (a private, non-profit) has an initiative called Good Connects Us. It is an idea generator with an infographic that people use to record acts of kindness, giving or volunteerism. Good Connects Us is a creative way to show the strength of the human spirit in Fairfax County. During this time of social distancing, we can still join together and show how we care about each other. Find out about the variety of volunteer opportunities available.

The Beacon 50+ Expo Goes Virtual
For the past 20 years, thousands of Northern Virginians have attended the Beacon 50+Expo, featuring speakers, exhibitors, flu shots, entertainment and more. This year, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beacon 50+Expo will be virtual. Their custom-designed website will offer immediate, free access to a huge variety of classes, speakers and entertainers—making everything available online 24 hours a day for three months. Learn more and register to receive updates and reminders to join the event.

Commission on Aging News

In response to a Joint Board Matter presented by Supervisor Herrity and Supervisor Walkinshaw, the Board of Supervisors voted to place the SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan on hold, and voted to develop a COVID-19 Response Plan for Older Adults.

The Area Agency on Aging (AAA) will work with the Commission on Aging and the Long-Term Care Cross Agency team (Department of Family Services, Neighborhood and Community Services, Health Department, Housing and Community Development, and Community Services Board), along with Fire and Rescue and Office of Strategy Management, to develop a plan. Two focus groups have been scheduled for input related to the COVID-19 Response Plan.

Fairfax Area Commission on Aging Virtual Meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 1 p.m.

Virtual meeting due to pandemic. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android at Use access code COAm12345!.

Live audio available. Dial 888-270-9936 or 602-333-0032. Conference code 231525.

For ADA accommodations, contact Hilda Naranjo by email or call 703-324-7496, TTY services at 711. To access via AT&T Bridge, call

1-866-434-5269, access code: 3743216.

Finding Caregiver Support in October

Are you caring for someone on Medicare? As a caregiver, you may be asked to help with a person’s insurance or drug coverage. Often, caregivers must navigate our complex healthcare system while trying to advocate for their loved ones. Understanding the different parts of Medicare, Medigap supplemental plans, and researching prescription drug plans can be challenging.

The Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP) offers free, unbiased, confidential counseling and assistance for people with Medicare. Its mission is to empower, educate, and assist Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers through objective outreach, counseling, and training to make informed health insurance decisions that optimize access to care and benefits.

VICAP counselors are not licensed to sell insurance, but they are trained and certified to help Medicare recipients understand and compare benefits, as well as explore options that best meet the needs of your loved ones. If you are being asked for help and you don’t know where to turn, call and leave a message at 703-324-5851, TTY 711. A counselor will return your call. Or, send an email.

Caregiver Webinar: Medicare 102

Did you know that the annual Medicare open enrollment period runs from Thursday, Oct. 15 through Monday, Dec. 7? During this time, a beneficiary may switch Part D prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans for the following year. Join our caregiver webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 12-1 p.m. and learn the facts about Medicare, with a good look into such topics as: observation status; what's up with all the extra "free" benefits some plans are advertising; and the outlook for new laws on drug pricing and the Part D drug benefit.

Bill Vaughan, VICAP volunteer, will be the presenter. Register online and scroll to Free 2020 Webinars for Family Caregivers, or call 703-324-5484.

Caregiver Telephone Support Call—Caregiving Over the Holidays

Holidays are joyful for many family caregivers, but also may bring stress and frustration. During this support call, we will discuss ideas and tips to help you make it through the holiday season with more joy and less stress. Join us on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 7-8 p.m. The group is facilitated by two dynamic and experienced ElderLink social workers, Daphne Van Tiem and Jennifer Purcell.

Register online—look for the links in the Hot Topics. You can also call 703-324-5376 or email. An access phone number to join the call will be given.

Free Caregivers Conference

The Northern Virginia Dementia Care Consortium (NVDCC) has been educating caregivers since 1986. This year, NVDCC is moving to a virtual space with the theme, Grow with the Flow: Learn, Adapt, and Thrive.

Take part in this free conference to become better prepared and learn new ways to engage those with dementia. Sessions take place virtually, Monday, Nov. 9 through Friday, Nov. 13, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., and are open to caregivers, volunteers working with older adults, and professionals in aging.

Register or call Lindsey Vajpeyi at 703-270-0043.

October is Residents' Rights Month

Residents’ Rights Month is celebrated in October to honor residents living in all long-term care facilities, such as nursing and assisted living facilities, and for consumers receiving long-term care services in their home or community.

Resident’s rights are guaranteed by federal and/or state law and are critical components of good health and quality of life for residents. National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care’s 2020 campaign theme is “Connection Matters,” which emphasizes residents’ connections to their families, friends, and to their communities.

The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is a resident-directed program and is often called to assist residents and consumers in advocating for their rights in order to protect their dignity, choices, and self-determination. The Ombudsman Program is also available to assist with concerns about quality of care, and to educate the community about long-term care services.

For more information about residents’ rights or other nursing and assisted living concerns, please call the Ombudsman Program at 703-324-5861 or send email.

Source: National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. (2020).

The Disabilities Rights and Resources Program is Here to Help

The Department of Family Services’ Disabilities Rights and Resources Program promotes the self-sufficiency and well-being of people with disabilities through advocacy, education, and consultation regarding legal rights and protections, solution management, and by connecting people to resources and services.

Beginning in October, all calls to the Department of Family Services’ Disabilities Rights and Resources Program, Adult and Aging Division, will be directed to the Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resources Line: 703-324-7948, TTY 711.

This phone line is staffed by social workers Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They can answer questions and help connect you to county services, transportation, recreation and wellness programs, and more!

Need Assistance to Buy Food

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as “food stamps,” can be used like cash to buy food from authorized retailers, including many farmers’ markets. It can also be used to buy food online from Amazon and Walmart but only the food purchase is covered, not the delivery fees. Instead of stamps, recipients receive an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, which looks like a credit card. Your account is debited each time eligible food items are purchased. A secret Personal Identification Number is required to use the card.

Your household must meet certain requirements to be eligible for SNAP and receive benefits. For your safety and convenience, the entire application process can be done by computer or phone—no need to come in-person. Apply online or call 1-855-635-4370 to apply over the phone. For more information, call the Department of Family Services Customer Care Line at 703-324-7500, TTY 711.

Having Difficulty Preparing Meals

Meals on Wheels provides home delivered meals to adults who have difficulty getting out of the home and who are over the age of 60. Meals are also available to those over 18 years old who have a disability and need assistance preparing meals.

The program is targeted to support eligible adults to remain independent in their own homes with support of the Home Delivered Meals program. The Home Delivered Meals program currently provides a weekly, contact-free meal delivery of 11 flash frozen meals. Meals are delivered one time per week. To learn more or to apply over the phone, call 703-324-5409.

Fairfax County Channel 16 - What to Watch in October

Tune in to Channel 16 for a taste of community! The award-winning station provides an interesting mix of county news and government proceedings as well as features on the interesting people and places that make Fairfax County such a wonderful place to live.

Shows include 16 Around Fairfax, County Magazine, the library’s Check It Out, and Parks Plus. Each of these programs include beautiful footage of county parks and facilities as well as interviews with county staff and residents.

You can enjoy Channel 16 programming online, anytime, or just turn on your television. Learn more about online programming, live streaming and the complete broadcast schedule.

October Shows

Mature Living: Creating Virtual Communities

Explore how older adults are adapting to the “new normal” of social distancing and virtual programming.

Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Monday at 5 p.m.

Tuesday at 4 p.m., 8:30 p.m., and 11:30 p.m.

Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

Thursday at 8:30 a.m., 4 p.m., and 11:30 p.m.

Friday at 9:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 9 p.m.

Saturday at 9 a.m., 4 p.m., and 11 p.m.

Tai Chi and Yoga

Be sure to check out this excellent series of online exercise programs, anytime. You also can tune into Channel 16.

Everyday Tai Chi
Airs Sundays at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Mondays at 7 a.m., Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Everyday Yoga: Movement for Life–Very Gentle
Airs Mondays at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Everyday Yoga: Movement for Life–Medium Gentle
Airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 8 a.m.

Everyday Yoga: Light Challenge
Airs Thursdays at 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.


How to Spot Identity Theft and What to Do

Someone gets your personal information and runs up bills in your name. They might use your Social Security or Medicare number, your credit card, or your medical insurance—along with your good name.

How would you know? You could get bills for things you didn’t buy or services you didn’t get. Your bank account might have withdrawals you didn’t make. You might not get bills you expect. Or, you could check your credit report and find accounts you never knew about.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Protect your information. Put yourself in another person’s shoes. Where would they find your credit card or Social Security number? Protect your personal information by shredding documents before you throw them out, by giving your Social Security number only when you must, and by using strong passwords online.

2. Read your monthly statements and check your credit. When you get your account statements and explanations of benefits, read them for accuracy. You should recognize what’s there. Once a year, get your credit report for free from or call 1-877-322-8228. The law entitles you to one free report each year from each credit reporting company. If you see something you don’t recognize, you will be able to deal with it.

Please Report Scams

If you suspect identity theft, act quickly. Please report it to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-438-4338 or TTY 1-866-653-4261. The FTC operator will give you the next steps to take. Learn more.

Shredding Helps Prevent Identity Theft

Upcoming Shredding Events in Fairfax County

Community Shred Event and Electronic Recycling, Saturday, Oct.17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free to the community and you may shred up to three full boxes of paper. For details on acceptable shredding and electronic recycling items. This event, hosted by Century 21, will be held rain or shine at 6641 A Old Dominion Drive, McLean in the parking lot.

Crime Solvers of Fairfax County Shred Event, Saturday, Oct.17, 8:30 a.m. to noon. Shredding location is the Mount Vernon District Station, 2511 Parker Ln., Alexandria. Stop by for secure on-site shredding. A small donation of $5 per bag is suggested.

Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout is Saturday, Oct. 24

Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout Saturday, Oc.t 24, 2020 information graphicTake advantage of a free, convenient, confidential, and safe disposal of unused or expired medications during Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Drop off medications at any of the eight Fairfax County District Police Stations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Accepted items are pills, liquids, e-cigarettes and vaping devices with batteries removed. No pressurized canisters or needles.

Drug take back programs are a safe method for disposing of prescription drugs and are organized and closely monitored by local, state, and federal government agencies. Safe disposal of unused or expired medications prevents drug abuse and misuse, accidental poisoning, and protects the environment.

Drop-Off Sites

Fair Oaks District Station, 12300 Lee Jackson Memorial Hwy, Fairfax

Franconia District Station, 6121 Franconia Road, Alexandria

Mason District Station, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale

McLean District Station, 1437 Balls Hill Road, McLean

Mount Vernon District Station, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria

Reston District Station, 1801 Cameron Glen Drive, Reston

Sully District Station, 4900 Stonecroft Boulevard, Chantilly

West Springfield District Station, 6140 Rolling Road, Springfield

Last Day to Vote Early is Saturday, Oct. 31

The Fairfax County Government Center is the only place to vote early until Wednesday, Oct. 14, and voting hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday hours begin on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Additional early voting sites will open starting Wednesday, Oct. 14, providing 15 locations in total that week including the Fairfax County Government Center.

Find the complete list of early voting locations and hours online at, and you can vote at any early voting site in the county.

Before you go vote, please double check the hours because they can vary depending on the location.

You also do not need to submit an application to vote early, but you must be a registered voter already. Any registered voter can vote early at any site in the county.

The last day to vote early is Saturday, Oct. 31.

For more information, contact the Fairfax County Office of Elections at 703-222-0776, TTY 711.

Community Calendar

Oct. 1-30. Pumpkin Decorating Challenge
$5 per child—ages 3 to 8. Show off your pumpkin prowess! The McLean Community Center will provide curbside pick-up, a small pumpkin, and a decorating package with the supplies to decorate your pumpkin. Register by email to You will be notified when kits are ready. Learn more details.

Oct. 16, 10-11:30 a.m., Putting Your Garden to Bed
Free. This online class, from Extension Master Gardeners, offers easy tips for onsite composting, providing winter habitat and food for wildlife, and end-of-season care of tools and equipment. Register by email.

Oct. 18, 2-3 p.m., Virtual Afternoon Tea: Fifty Years for Women
Discover things that women could not do before 1970 and reflect on an astonishingly fast-paced liberation that continues today. All registrants will be sent a link by email to attend the lecture on Zoom. Program $10; tea box $24. For registration information, call 703-642-5173.

Oct. 22 and 29, 3-4 p.m., Online English Conversation Group
Free. Practice your English in an online library group discussion. Registration is required. Go to A Zoom invitation will be mailed one day before each session.

Oct. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Writing Outside of Books
Free. This is a virtual panel discussion on the importance of novelists to explore other types of writing. Find out why it is important to write outside of your genre. Register for the event. An event link will be sent by email a day before the event.

Oct. 29, 10 a.m.-12 p.m., Understanding the Hidden Clues in Records
This virtual class by the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society will discuss how our ancestors were governed by laws that may have restricted the records they could create. To register, send an email with your name, phone number, class name and date to Amy Breedlove.

Check out the Golden Gazette's past newsletters.

Golden Gazette collage of past newsletter covers banner graphic

Fairfax Virtual Assistant