Department of Family Services – Older Adults

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7948 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 708
Fairfax, VA 22035
Trina Mayhan-Webb

Golden Gazette

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2023 December

Featured Articles

Photo of David Meyer, former mayor of the City of Fairfax.David Meyer Believes in Serving His Community
David Meyer was raised by parents who were deeply involved in their community, always ready to lend a hand when needed. In this regard, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Since moving to the City of Fairfax in 1981, Meyer has stepped forward to serve his community – from devoting countless hours to saving Historic Blenheim from being razed to serving as mayor during one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history. Through it all, his steadfast leadership has earned him the respect of his colleagues as well as the residents he served. Read more.

Photo of an older man squinting in confusion at his smartphone.Artificial Intelligence: The Latest Tool of Scammers 
You may have noticed that artificial intelligence (AI) has been in the news a lot lately. The applications and potential uses for AI have amazed the public while also stirring fierce debate. Proponents view AI as a valuable tool that can provide numerous benefits when used properly, while detractors warn of dire consequences if AI use isn’t properly regulated. Read more. 

Photo of Antioch church members Derrick Savage, Anna Dixon, Beverly Wilson and Margaret Fisher.Antioch Baptist Church Makes Nature Conservation a Priority
Church congregations often give thanks for the beauty of the natural world, but how often does that appreciation translate into conservation efforts? Antioch Baptist Church in Fairfax Station has made it their mission to eradicate the invasive vines growing on their church campus, protect the native trees, and create an environment where native plants and animals can thrive. This worthy initiative is being championed by church members who believe that the earth is a gift, and it is our duty to care for it. Read more.

Photo of a hand holding a remote control pointing at a smart TV.Helpful Tips for Buying and Using a Smart TV
Black Friday sales, family holiday gatherings, and the Super Bowl often prompt people to purchase a new TV. If you haven’t bought one in the past ten years, you may not be ready for what you’ll find online or at your local electronics retailer. All TVs for sale today are so-called “smart” TVs, meaning they have built-in connections to the internet and can provide access to streaming services. The choice of TVs and how to use them can feel daunting. Here are some tips to help you hit the ground running (or more like sitting) in front of your new TV. Read more.

More Articles

(by Beth Ann Margetta, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging)
The Fairfax Area Commission on Aging (COA) is an advisory board mandated by the Older Americans Act. Commissioners for the Fairfax Area COA are appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and the City Councils of the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church.

At the November 15 COA meeting, the COA continued discussion of the implementation of the SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan and Initiative Development Committees. SHAPE Initiative Development Committee meetings will be ongoing through the duration of the plan.

COA Meeting, Wednesday, December 20, 1 p.m.

Virtual via MS Teams: 
Meeting ID: 250 983 213 135, Passcode: JMRLEA. 

For call in (audio only) +1 571-429-5982, Phone Conference ID: 240 278 139#   

To obtain meeting materials, visit or contact or call 703-324-5635. For ADA accommodations, contact or call 571-407-6960 TTY: VA Relay 711.

(by Gwen Jones, Department of Family Services)

Photo of dignitaries cutting the ribbon to open the Lorton Campus Animal Shelter.On Saturday, October 28, a community celebration took place for the grand opening of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter Lorton Campus and the Lorton District Police Station.

The new 23,000-square-foot facility, located at 8875 Lorton Road, is the second county-operated shelter, joining the Michael R. Frey Animal Shelter on West Ox Road in Fairfax. The Lorton Campus significantly expands the geographic reach and impact of the shelter, allowing for more pet adoptions while also providing a hub for essential services, including behavior and training support, pet wellness services, pet supplies, and other critical services that help keep pets with their families. 

The new facility includes:

  • 44 double-sided dog kennels
  • 42 cat condos
  • 2 catios
  • A state-of-the-art veterinary clinic
  • 20,000-square-foot outdoor space for the animals
  • Facility-wide specialized airflow to reduce disease transmission
  • Acoustical designs to decrease noise in animal housing areas
  • Separate entrances for adoptions and admissions/vet clinic
  • Focused effort on “fear-free” housing with the separation of species throughout the facility
  • Natural light in almost all areas
  • Sustainability features, including electric vehicle charging stations, space for solar panels, and energy-efficient systems

Hours of operation at the new shelter are:

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday and Wednesday: Noon-5 p.m.
  • Thursday and Friday: Noon-7 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

For more information about the Fairfax County Animal Shelter, visit

(by Allegra Joffe, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging)

Photo of an older man in a wheelchair and a younger woman laughing together while wearing Santa hats.The holiday season can bring joy, peace, and excitement for many families. However, for many family caregivers the holidays can also be a time of additional stress. Caregivers are already trying to balance caring for loved ones in addition to caring for themselves and managing their jobs and homes. Adding one more responsibility or event can be overwhelming. Below are some suggestions on ways to manage stress as a family caregiver over the holiday season: 

  • Give yourself the gift of self-care. Do something that refreshes you and brings you joy. 
  • Communicate boundaries and limitations with family and friends. Share how much you can contribute to events, gifts, and food gatherings due to your caregiving duties. 
  • Do not over commit to too many engagements. 
  • Prioritize and choose holiday activities or events that are important to you. 
  • If relatives or close friends come into town, ask them to stay with your loved one so you can take a break. 
  • Allow others to help you and seek outside support as needed. 

If you wish to learn more about caregiving resources, call our Aging, Disability, and Caregiver Resources Line at 703-324-7948 or visit

Virtual Dementia Friendly Information Session

Wednesday, December 13, Noon-1:15 p.m.

Join this presentation and learn how to become a dementia friend. Turn your new understanding of dementia into practical action that can help someone living in your community. Presented by Allegra Joffe, Social Services Specialist with Fairfax Area Agency on Aging, and Diane Watson, Dementia Friends Champion Volunteer. Register online at or call 571-407-6961.

Present! A Latino History of the United States

Friday, December 15, Noon-1 p.m.

The Molina Family Latino Gallery is the first Smithsonian gallery dedicated to the contributions of Latinos in the United States. Join the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging for this presentation to learn about the inaugural exhibition, Present! A Latino history of the United States. This exhibition presents foundational concepts, moments, and biographies that shed light on the historical and cultural legacy of Latinas and Latinos in the United States. Presented by Natalia Febo, National Museum of the American Latino. This program will be presented in Spanish. Register online at or call 571-407-6961.

Fairfax Caregiver Alert Notifications

"If we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you." Now, family caregivers can receive weekly emails, text messages, and voice communications to learn about the latest news on caregiving supportive services. These programs include workshops, caregiver webinars, case management, in-home respite, and much more. To subscribe, visit Create an account (or if you already have one, sign into your account), and select Area Agency on Aging/Caregiving. 

Parkinson Social Network

Parkinson Social Network (PSN) supports, advocates, educates, and enriches the lives of those touched by Parkinson’s Disease. It’s a non-profit organization run by volunteers, all of whom have a personal connection to Parkinson’s Disease. Each month PSN offers virtual programs to support and engage those with Parkinson’s, their care partners, family, friends, and other community members who are interested in sharing and learning. For more information, please contact Parkinson Social Network at 571-286-5000 or email

Photo of an older woman smiling and holding a smiling toddler.Do you or someone you know have room in your heart and home to support children in foster care? There are children in our community who need safe, stable, and loving homes. Fairfax County Department of Family Services is recruiting foster parents to care for medically fragile infants, teenagers (ages 13 and up), and large sibling groups (three or more). We need your help in spreading the word about the need for foster parents to support the 200 children in foster care in our community. For more information about this and other ways to support foster families, please visit our website, email or call our foster parent recruiter at or 703-324-7480.

(by the Public Assistance and Employment Services Division of DFS)

The Crisis Assistance Program is designed to help households overcome energy emergencies that cannot be met by other resources. An energy emergency is determined when a household has no heat or is in imminent danger of being without heat. Crisis Assistance offers assistance with one or more of the following:

  • Payment of primary heat source utility bills (begins Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024).
  • Payment of security deposits for primary heat utility.
  • Purchase of primary home heating fuel when the fuel supply is low.
  • Repair of inoperable or unsafe heating equipment.
  • Replacement of heating equipment for homeowners only (when repair is not possible).
  • Provision of supplemental heating equipment/maintenance.

Open application period:

  • November 1 through March 15 for heating equipment repair/purchase/maintenance and a onetime-only heat security deposit.
  • The first business day in January through March 15 for purchase of home heating fuel and payment of a heat utility bill.

Apply for Fuel Assistance and Crisis Assistance

  • Online: at
  • Phone: Enterprise Call Center at 833-5-CALL-VA (833-522-5582).
  • In Person: Applications for Energy Assistance are available at the Fairfax County Human Services Centers. Operating hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
    • Alexandria - Gerry Hyland Government Center, 8350 Richmond Hwy., Alexandria
    • Annandale - Heritage Center, West Wing, 7611 Little River Turnpike, Annandale 
    • Fairfax - Pennino Building, 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax 
    • Reston - Lake Anne Office Building, 11484 Washington Plaza West, Reston
  • Paper Application
    • Mail: 12011 Government Center Parkway, Suite 232, Fairfax, VA 22035
    • Fax: 703-653-1355
    • Email:
    • Drop off at one of the four DFS office locations.

(by Carol Wright, Volunteer Solutions)

A younger man points to something on an iPad while sitting at a table with an older man.Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with technology? Volunteer Solutions’ IT On Call Program can help! The IT On-Call Program recruits and manages tech-savvy volunteers who provide free technology assistance to Fairfax area residents aged 60 and over. IT volunteers provide a variety of in-person technology assistance in the comfort of your home. 

How to Use Technology

IT volunteers are not only tech savvy but are patient educators who offer older adults computer support services at their own pace. Laptops, desktops, iPads, smartphones and smart TV’s can be difficult to understand. IT volunteers help older adults understand these devices and teach the basics of using them. The volunteers can also help older adults understand how to use email and popular social media applications. Additionally, IT volunteers help users build their confidence by teaching them to understand the safety risks of using mobile devices and computers and explaining basic security measures in a way that is easy to understand. 

Set-Up and Installation 

Is something not working properly, and you can’t figure out what’s wrong? IT volunteers can help to get it working. The volunteers help with Wi-Fi/router issues and setting up Wi-Fi, a new computer, tablet, printer, or Smartphone and much more. If you need help resetting a password or web browser support, IT volunteers can also help!

Affordable and Accessible Internet

Do you already have internet but think that it’s too expensive? Would you like to have internet but cannot afford it? IT volunteers can assist in referring you to Computer CORE. Computer CORE is a non-profit organization that provides free online digital literacy classes, refurbished computers, and assists individuals signing up for free internet through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). Computer CORE has Digital Navigators that can help you sign up for ACP. To learn more about the ACP and its eligibility requirements, contact Computer CORE by calling 866-977-3033 or via email at

Let us empower you! Call today to get help from an IT On-Call volunteer or if you’re tech-savvy and would like to help, please call 703-324-5406 or email

(by Tanya Erway, Volunteer Solutions Recruitment Coordinator)

Photo of a candle flame in a dark room.Be a light in your community. A few hours of volunteering per month can make a difference, for you as the volunteer, and the recipients of your time. Here are some of the many ways to help or check out for more opportunities.

The Fairfax County Department of Family Services' Body Safety Program needs volunteer classroom instructors to help empower elementary students with the tools to prevent or interrupt child abuse and exploitation. Students range from pre-K through sixth grade. Bilingual volunteers (English/Spanish) are also needed. Visit the program website at to learn more and register. The next training will be on January 24, 2024, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with lunch provided. Email or call 703-324-7459 for more information.

Computer C.O.R.E. needs volunteers to teach basic computer skills to adults via Zoom or serve as a "Zoom Administrator." They provide the necessary tools and training. This is an all-virtual volunteer role. The time commitment is one hour per week, 6-7 p.m., or 7:15-8:15 p.m. for ten-week terms – January-March, April-June, and September-November. They will accommodate vacation schedules using substitute teachers (another volunteer role). Other roles are available. Go to

ECHO (Ecumenical Community Helping Others) is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization, aiding individuals and families in need within the Burke-Springfield community. They offer food, clothing, housewares, and financial assistance for housing and utilities. Volunteers process donations, counsel and assist clients, handle administrative tasks and much more. Go to to learn more and choose the “Volunteer” tab for additional details. Email, leave a phone number and the best time to reach you.

Volunteer Solutions, a program of Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services, offers various opportunities to provide support to older adults, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers, one-on-one, or in senior centers. Drivers, grocery shoppers, social visitors, and skilled volunteers are needed. Create new connections and help decrease social isolation. Are you into fitness, dance, music, art, or teaching languages, including ASL? To learn more and register go to, email, or call 703-324-5406

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) provides free tax preparation to qualified people in Northern Virginia. The Fairfax County Department of Family Services needs volunteers to act as greeters, interpreters (including ASL), screeners, tax preparers, online tax coaches, social media outreach, and IT support. Free training (classroom and on-line) is available for screeners and tax preparers. Opportunities are available throughout Fairfax County, with flexible schedules, including evenings and weekends. Volunteers are needed through mid-April. Go to

If you wish to submit volunteer opportunities, email Tanya Erway at

The non-profit Shepherd's Centers are sponsored by local area congregations, corporate partners, community groups, and individuals to serve adults 50 and older. The centers offer free transportation for medical appointments and non-medical needs (e.g. grocery shopping) for adults 50+ who live in their center’s service area and are able to independently get in and out of a car. Although this service is free to the client, and is not means qualified, an application is required. Once accepted, a request for a ride must be made at least five days in advance. Individual centers also offer additional programs and services. Visit the website or call the center in your area for more information. 

Interested in volunteering at a Shepherd's Center? Contact a center to learn more:

(by Gwen Jones, Department of Family Services)

Photo of colorful string lights spread accross a floor.‘Tis the season for decorating your home, preparing favorite recipes, and getting together with family and friends to celebrate the holidays. Along with joy and celebrations, the holidays can also be a time of increased risk. Fires caused by faulty decorations and cooking mishaps can cause property damage and injury. Thieves are also active during the holidays – burglarizing homes while people are away visiting loved ones. The good news is that there are steps you can take to stay safe.  

Holiday Decorations

Decorating for the holidays is a much-loved tradition, and unpacking decorations each year may feel like seeing a beloved friend again. It is important to check your decorations to make sure they are in good working order and to display them safely in your home. Tips for decorating safely include: 

  • Always use flameless candles near flammable objects.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a heat source, such as a fireplace.
  • Never overload an outlet.
  • Inspect holiday lights for broken cords or loose bulbs and discard or recycle any that are damaged. 
  • If you have a live Christmas tree, check the water supply, and top it off daily.
  • Turn off your decorations when you go out and when you’re asleep.
  • Prevent trip hazards by keeping extension cords away from walking paths.
  • Keep all batteries stored safely out of reach of small children and pets.
  • Never leave candles burning unattended, especially when children or pets are present.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.

Holiday Cooking 

Did you know that Thanksgiving is the peak day for fires caused by home cooking, with Christmas Day coming in second and Christmas Eve in fifth? With that in mind, follow these kitchen safety tips to avoid accident or injury: 

  • Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking. Long loose sleeves are more likely to catch on fire or get caught on pot handles.
  • If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Keep things that can catch fire, such as dish towels, curtains, or paper at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Always use potholders or wear oven mitts to prevent burns when handling hot dishes.
  • Do not leave cooking food unattended.
  • Turn pot handles inward.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the stove and areas where hot food or drink is being prepared.
  • If a small grease fire starts in a pan, put on an oven mitt, and smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not remove the lid until it is completely cool.
  • If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you. Have the oven serviced before you use it again.

Holiday Travel 

If you plan to travel during the holidays, there are steps you can take to ensure that your home is safe and secure. Consider these tips before you depart for holiday travel: 

  • Install security cameras, preferably ones that have recording capabilities.
  • If you’re traveling out of town, avoid announcing your plans on social media.
  • Put your mail and newspapers on hold. 
  • Ensure your residence appears occupied, even when no one is home, by using timers on lights.
  • Keep all doors and windows closed and locked.
  • Secure sliding glass doors by placing a metal rod or a wooden dowel rod in the track.
  • Lock the door to an attached garage.
  • Keep the perimeter of your home well-lit.
  • Have a trusted neighbor check on your home while you’re away.
  • Keep landscaping trimmed near entrances and walkways.
  • Keep an inventory of your property.
  • Store ladders, tools, and any other outside objects in a locked shed or garage.

(by Katie Patterson, Long-Term Care Ombudsman)

Do you or someone you know receive long-term care services in the community? The Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (NVLTCOP) can assist in resolving care concerns and provide information about community based long-term care services such as home health, hospice, and adult day health care. Consumers can also search for information about these services on Medicare’s website, There consumers can locate services near where they live, read the most recent survey results, and compare agencies, to make an informed decision about their long-term care services. 

As a mandated program under the Older Americans Act, the NVLTCOP is often called on to assist residents and consumers to advocate for their rights to ensure quality of care and quality of life. The NVLTCOP is a resident-directed program that is available to assist with concerns and to educate the community about long-term care services. For more information about long-term care services in the community, or nursing facility and assisted living concerns, please call the NVLTCOP at 703-324-5861, TTY 711, or contact the Ombudsman Program by email at

(by Moriah Kitaeff, Department of Emergency Management and Security)

The winter holidays are a time to spend with family and friends, and for a lot of people that means traveling to visit loved ones. Long car rides in the winter should come with special preparation, as you should be prepared for the unfortunate possibility that your car can get stuck in the snow and you might have to wait for an undetermined amount of time for services to reach you.

Ensure that you have a car emergency kit, and that it is ready to support you with tools made for cold weather safety. Your vehicle emergency kit should include:

  • Jumper Cables, Tools and Flares
  • Flashlights
  • Ice Scraper and Air Tire Gauge
  • Phone Charger
  • Blanket/Poncho and Handwarmers
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water and Shelf Stable Food

Learn more about building emergency kits at

Fairfax County’s aging population is increasing. In 2019, 1 in 7 county residents were aged 65 and older and that number is expected to grow to 1 in 5 residents by 2035! To meet that demand, Fairfax County is working on the SHAPE the Future of Aging initiative to continue to improve Fairfax County’s ability to be a place to age well, and for older adults to live safely, independently and with dignity.

Tara Turner, Director of the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging joins host Anne Hall to discuss SHAPE:

  • Services for Older Adults and Family Caregivers
  • Housing and Neighborhood Supports
  • Access to Mobility Options
  • Personal Well-Being
  • Economic Stability and Planning

Channel 16 also spoke with Cathy Cole, Chair of the Fairfax Area Commission on Aging. She shared her experience on the commission, and the important work she and the other volunteers do on behalf of our older residents. 

Mature Living can be seen on Channel 16 or 1016 (depending on your service provider) on the following days and times:

  • Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Monday at 5 p.m. and 9:30 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 9:30 a.m., 4 p.m. and 11 p.m.

This program can also be seen on your computer:

You can find information on services for older adults at or call 703-324-7948, TTY 711, Monday-Friday.

Vendors Needed! Young at Heart Senior Center Advisory Council Craft and Vendor Market

The market will take place on Saturday, March 9, 2024, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Blenheim Boulevard, Fairfax. If you are interested in selling your crafts or merchandise, spaces are available for $45 each. Each space comes with a rectangular table and two chairs. For information and/or a Vendor Registration form, please call Mary Fazio at 571-623-4979, email, or call the Green Acres Senior Center at 703-273-6090.

Three & Half Acres Yoga Class
Mondays, Dec. 4, 11, and 18, 10:15-11:15 a.m.

Hosted by the Virtual Center for Active Adults. This mat-based yoga class is designed specifically for older adults or anyone interested in a gentle yoga session. Please check with your doctor before starting this or any exercise program. For more information, visit; To join the virtual presentation on Zoom, visit; Meeting ID: 905 123 5932; Passcode: 3636

Brain Gym 
Fridays, Dec. 8, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, 2-3 p.m.

George Mason Regional Library, 7001 Little River Turnpike, Annandale
Improve your brain health with fun exercises like sudoku, word puzzles, memorization games, and more. Come to one or all the sessions. No registration. For older adults. For more information, call 703-256-3800.

Shakespeare Opera Theatre’s Hansel and Gretel
Saturday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m.; St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 8991 Brook Rd., McLean
Saturday, Dec. 16, Noon and 4 p.m.; Grace Episcopal Church, 6407 Main St., The Plains

SOT presents the beloved children’s tale in operatic form in a lighthearted performance for all ages! Enjoy Bavarian treats before and during the show! Presented in English translation. Tickets start at $39.50. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 443-226-8270 or visit

How Exercise Helps with Brain Health
Wednesday, December 13, 1-2:30 p.m.

Virtual and in-person event at Insight Memory Care Center, Fairfax 3955 Pender Drive, Suite 100, Fairfax
Learn how exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills. For more information and to register, visit

Service of Remembrance
Sunday, December 17, 6 p.m. 

Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Rd, Fairfax 
Join us for a candlelight event to honor and remember all those we have lost in the past year. Refreshments will be provided following the service. 

Memory Screenings at the Wellness Center for Older Adults
Monday, December 18, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Wellness Center for Older Adults, 4027B Olley Lane, Fairfax 
Insight Memory Care Center will offer free, confidential memory screenings and educational materials to people with concerns about their memory or who want to check their memory now for future comparison. Register for a 30-minute time slot by calling 703-970-3601.

Your Guide to Communications Technologies and Services in the 21st Century 
Monday, December 18, 1-2 p.m. 

Reston Community Center, 2310 Colts Neck Rd. Reston
Presented by Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services – CPRD. For more information contact Cassie Lebron via email at or call 703-390-6157.

Who's Watching Whom? Your Smart TV and Your Privacy
Tuesday, December 19, 10:15-11:15 a.m. 

This is a virtual event (Zoom) presented by Fairfax County Department of Cable and Consumer Services – CPRD. For more information contact Jennifer Thompson via mail at

Please note that dates, prices, and times are correct at publishing. However, please confirm information by calling or checking using the phone numbers or websites provided. 

Access the print version of this month's newsletter.*

Check out the past newsletters.

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*Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all county programs, services and activities. To request reasonable accommodations or to receive this information in an alternate format, call 703-324-7948 or TTY 711.

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