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,

Golden Gazette

Golden Gazette newsletter banner graphic

2023 February

Featured Articles

Photo of Gloria Runyon and Sylvia TaylorSylvia Taylor and Gloria Runyon: Bringing History to Light and to Life   
In Fairfax County, residents have gotten used to the constant redevelopment that is the norm when living in a thriving economic hub. How often do we stop and wonder about the history of a building being razed to make way for something new? Sylvia Taylor and Gloria Runyon, long-time residents of the Town of Vienna, ask those questions. They have dedicated themselves to discovering, documenting, and preserving the history of Vienna, specifically the lesser-known history of African Americans in Vienna. Read more.

Photo of a 1040 federal tax form, a pen, and a calculatorLooking for Help with Your Taxes? Check Out These Free Resources
Tax season is here – a time that can provoke anxiety and frustration for many. If you need help preparing your tax return, there are free resources available to assist you. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program helps income-eligible people with their tax returns. The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program assists low to moderate income taxpayers, specifically those 50 and older, with their tax returns. There are also online resources you can visit to find answers to your tax questions. Read more.

Photo of an older woman riding in the backseat of a car gazing out the window.Need a Lift? Transportation Services are Available to Help
Once you make the decision to give up driving, simple things like shopping for groceries, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or picking up a prescription can become complicated due to the extra step of lining up transportation. If you struggle to secure a ride or don’t want to burden friends or family, consider these options to get you where you need to go. Read more.

logo for CARE Mobile that includes icons representing art, companionship, fitness and healthCARE Mobile: ServiceSource's Innovative Mobile Program to Combat Social Isolation Among Older Adults and Adults with Disabilities 
A new mobile program to help reduce social isolation among older adults and adults with disabilities was launched recently by ServiceSource. CARE (Community Access to Resources and Engagement) Mobile is a 100 percent mobile program based on a public-private partnership model which provides roving onsite outdoor health and wellness programming, engaging community activities, and entertainment for older adults (50+) and adults with disabilities for free. Local community resources and consultation are also available to connect individuals to organizations for support. Read more.

More Articles

What is Open from Dawn to Dusk Every Day of the Year?

(by Bobbi Longworth, Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Foundation)

Please note: this article has been updated from the version originally published. 

Photo of a couple and a single woman enjoying a walk around Green Springs Garden in Alexandria

Fairfax County’s 420 Fairfax County parks, nine fishing lakes, and 330 miles of trails are open every day! In addition to their natural beauty and availability throughout the county, parks are open to everyone.   

Since 1950 when the Park Authority was established, older adults have been enjoying neighborhood parks, visiting nature centers, fishing, bicycling, camping, exploring historic sites, painting beautiful landscapes, and enjoying summer concerts as part of a fulfilling life. Today, most park facilities can accommodate wheelchairs and mobility devices. You can enjoy Fairfax County Parks by yourself, with a friend or family. Without much effort, you will find something to do regardless of your age, abilities, season of the year, or weather conditions. Frequently, a park visit will spark wonderful memories from an earlier time of life. 

Parks, trails and outdoor spaces play a meaningful role in the quality of life we enjoy in living, working and, most importantly, playing in Fairfax County. But they are only a piece, albeit a big piece, of the county’s complete park system of programs, facilities and services!

Over the years, perhaps you’ve spent time in our park system walking the trails. You may have enjoyed a membership at our Rec Centers, attended a fitness or aquatics class, or enrolled your child in a swim team or camp program. You could even have enjoyed the Park Authority’s golf complexes. If so, you understand the value of caring for our facilities and expanding and refreshing the amenities and experiences we provide to our community. To do that, we ask your support.

In 2001, the Fairfax County Park Authority established the Park Foundation as a nonprofit organization to accept donations from businesses, organizations, and individuals to fund parks and programs when tax revenues are not available. 

Many individual residents in our community have made meaningful contributions to help the county parks that extend beyond their lifetime. They did this by including the Fairfax County Park Foundation as a beneficiary in their will or other planned gift. If this is something you are interested in, be sure to consult with your attorney or financial advisor to determine benefits and decisions that affect your estate. While every donor has a different set of circumstances, most park visitors enjoy the plants, animals, trails, and fresh air offered in the 24,000 acres of Fairfax County Parks. 

For more information about how you can make a donation to support Fairfax County parks, visit or contact Roberta A. "Bobbi" Longworth, Executive Director, Fairfax County Park Foundation, at 703-324-8581.

Don’t wait another day! Explore a Fairfax County Park Authority park today and learn something new!

Home Safety for Loved Ones with Dementia

(by Giuliana Valencia, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging)

Photo of a younger woman attending to an older woman Dementia changes how a person responds to their environment because it affects cognitive functioning, such as perception, balance, coordination, memory, and strength. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is caused by damage to the brain cells. Although the symptoms of dementia can vary from person to person, as the disease progresses, symptoms can lead to increased confusion and behavior changes. 

To keep a loved one with dementia safe in their home environment, the National Institute of Health recommends:

  • Avoid clutter which can lead to confusion and danger.
  • Maintain adequate lighting.
  • Get rid of rugs and extension cords that can cause falls.
  • Install alarms or locks on doors to prevent wandering.
  • Install door latches or security locks on cabinets that contain dangerous items.
  • Install safety knobs on stoves.
  • Use a monitoring device to alert you of any falls.
  • Remove any breakable and dangerous items from visible areas.
  • Remove or lock any guns or weapons. 

If you wish to learn more about caregiving resources for persons with dementia, call our Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resources Line at 703-324-7948.

Communicating with Dementia-Caregiver Webinar

Communicating with a loved one with dementia is a new skill. In this presentation, you’ll learn about both verbal and non-verbal communications, what to say and not to say, and what’s most important to preserve a good relationship with your loved one during their dementia journey.

This presentation will be facilitated by Pam Ostrowski, founder of Alzheimer’s Family Consulting. She is a speaker, a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP)®, and is Certified in Dementia Care (CDC)®. She is also the author of the highly rated Alzheimer’s guidebook, It’s Not That Simple: Helping Families Navigate the Alzheimer’s Journey, which is based on Pam’s 14-year dementia and Alzheimer’s journey with her parents. Join us for this presentation on Wednesday, February 15, from Noon to 1 p.m. Online registration:

Fairfax Caregiver Alert Notifications

If we can’t reach you, we can’t alert you. Now, family caregivers can receive email or text notifications of about Fairfax County caregiver services and programs. These programs include case management, in-home respite, caregiver support and webinars, wellness workshops, and much more. Visit to create or sign into your Fairfax Alerts account and then select Area Agency on Aging/Caregivers.

Inova Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center (IPMDC)

Care Partners Tips and Tricks is a monthly series IPMDC offers on Zoom. Details about this program can be found at, along with recordings and PowerPoint slides for each program.

IPMDC also offers a variety of educational, wellness and supportive groups, either in-person or on Zoom, that are open to all Parkinson patients, family and friends, at no cost to attendees. A calendar, as well as details of their programs and resources can be found at, or contact Sonia Gow, Program and Community Care Manager at or 703-375-9987.

Activity Programs in Long-Term Care Facilities

(by Camden Doran, Long-Term Care Ombudsman)

Human nature includes a need to engage in meaningful activities that are enjoyable and provide a sense of belonging. Long-term care (LTC) facilities are required to implement ongoing resident-centered activities programs, including facility-initiated, individual, and independent activities. Activity programs within LTC facilities must be run by a qualified therapeutic recreation specialist or an activity professional. All activities should incorporate residents’ interests, hobbies, and cultural preferences. Activities are integral to maintaining and improving a resident’s physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being and independence.

As a mandated program under the Older Americans Act, the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program (NVLTCOP) is often called on to assist residents and consumers to advocate for their rights to ensure quality of care and quality of life. For more information about activity programs, or other nursing facility and assisted living concerns, please call the NVLTCOP at 703-324-5861, TTY 711, or email

Creating a Winter Emergency Kit for Your Vehicle

(by Carly Mullinax, Department of Emergency Management and Security)

Photo of an emergency kitThough it’s prudent to be prepared for an emergency no matter the time of year, the winter weather makes it especially important to be prepared in the event of an emergency while you are out and about in your vehicle. The winter season brings snow, ice, and potential mechanical issues for vehicles. There may be times when you are forced to wait for weather to clear or may become stuck on a roadway until help arrives. Having a bag packed with essential items can make all the difference in the event you are stranded in your vehicle for an extended period of time. Below are some items you will want to include in your winter vehicle emergency kit:

  • Ice scraper
  • Poncho/blanket, gloves, boots, and handwarmers
  • Flashlight
  • Phone charger and car adapter
  • Jumper cables, spare tire, and basic tool kit
  • Flares
  • Maps
  • Snacks, bottled water, and emergency medications
  • Basic first aid kit

Remember to maintain your emergency kit every six months and change out seasonal items throughout the year. It is also a good idea to make sure you always have at least a half tank of gas in your car in the event you are stranded and need to use the heat. When in doubt about whether it is safe to drive in winter weather, stay safe and stay home! 

For more information on how to build an emergency kit, visit Fairfax County Department of Emergency Management and Security’s website at

Fairfax Area Commission on Aging

(by Jacquie Woodruff, 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 Commission on Aging are appointed by the Board of Supervisors and the City Councils of the City of Fairfax and the City of Falls Church.

At the January 18 COA meeting, Countywide Strategic Plan staff led discussion about the Countywide Strategic Plan and the SHAPE the Future of Aging Plan.

COA Meeting Wednesday, February 15, 1 p.m.

The meeting will be held electronically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Join from PC, 
Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Access Code: COA-m1234! 

Live audio of the meeting may be accessed by dialing 888-270-9936 (US Toll Free) or 
602-333-0032; conference code: 231525. 

For ADA accommodations, contact Ana Valdivia, 571-407-6960 or; TTY services available via 711. 

*Note: Meeting will be held virtually unless otherwise impacted by Fairfax County's State of Emergency Status due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check website for meeting location updates:

Explore Volunteer Opportunities in Your Community

(by Tanya Erway, Volunteer Solutions Recruitment Coordinator)

Are you looking for a way to make a difference in our community? Below are a few of the many ways to help as a volunteer, or you may check out for hundreds of opportunities in Fairfax County.

Annandale Christian Community for Action (ACCA) provides day care, food, rental assistance, furniture, and other services to low-income families in the Annandale and Bailey’s Crossroads region. Individual volunteers perform nearly all of ACCA’s work. Schedules are flexible. Many tasks can be done from home. All recipients of these services are screened and referred to ACCA by social service agencies. Learn more about opportunities at or email

Volunteer Solutions offers opportunities to provide support to older adults, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers. The following roles are needed: drivers (for medical appointments, errands, grocery shopping), social visitors, household organizers, and more. Do you have a skill to share? Senior centers need skilled activity leaders. Bilingual volunteers are in high demand, too! To learn more and register go to, email, or call 703-324-5406.

Insight Memory Care Center is a nonprofit providing specialized care, support, and education for individuals in all stages of memory or cognitive impairment, their care partners, and the community. Volunteer assignment at their early-stage Reconnections programs or Adult Day Center may include helping participants with brain fitness activities, setting up for activities, and more. Times are flexible and sites are in Fairfax and Sterling, Virginia. Visit, or contact Jessica Peters at or 703-204-4664 ext. 120

Be the voice for a vulnerable child. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) provides volunteer advocates for abused and neglected children referred by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court. Volunteers must commit to their assigned child(ren) throughout the life of the case (an average of two years) and visit them twice monthly. The CASA volunteer is often the only consistent adult in the life of that child. The first step is to attend a virtual information session. Visit, or email Alexis Shield at for information. 

Volunteers are needed for the 2023 Tax Season! The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program needs greeters, interpreters (including ASL), screeners and tax preparers. No tax training is needed for greeters and interpreters. Free training is available for screeners and tax preparers. Opportunities are available throughout Fairfax County, with flexible schedules. For more information go to The VITA program offers free income tax preparation and filing services to individuals and families who earned less than $60,000 in 2022. 

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

Help is Available for Heating Emergencies

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

Are you facing a “no heat” situation? The Crisis Assistance program helps 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. The open application period for the Crisis Assistance Program closes on March 15. Learn more and apply for the Crisis Assistance program at or by calling 1-833-522-5582.

Mature Living – Scam Prevention

Many people continue to fall victim to scams, and seniors are often a desirable target for scammers.  Melissa Smarr is a Code Specialist with Fairfax County Government Land Development Services and a facilitator with Fairfax County Silver Shield Anti-Scam Campaign, and she reveals how we can protect ourselves and our assets. Producer Fran Guastadisegni talks with MPO Anthony L. Capizzi, a Crime Prevention Specialist with the Fairfax County Police Department. He describes actual scams that people have fallen prey to and offers tips on how to avoid them. We close out our discussion with Trudy Marotta, the Volunteer Community Ambassador with AARP, Virginia, and a member of the Silver Shield Task Force. Trudy is also a spokesperson for the Fraud Watch Network for Fairfax County, and she shares valuable resources we can all use to stay safe.  

Mature Living can be seen on Channel 1016 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.

Protect Your SNAP EBT Card From Scammers and Thieves

(by Amy Carlini, Department of Family Services)

SNAP logoScammers are targeting electronic benefits transfer (EBT) cardholders nationwide. Virginia, like most states, is unable to replace missing or stolen EBT funds, so it's important to protect your card and benefits.   

Keep your PIN secret. Do not share your PIN with anyone outside your household. Cover the keypad when you enter your PIN on a machine.

Check your EBT account regularly for unauthorized charges. If you notice any, change your PIN immediately to stop the thief from making any new purchases by calling 1-866-281-2448. 

Before you shop, know your balance by any of these ways:

  • Save your receipts. The receipts always show how much you spent and how much is left in your account.
  • On the Internet, go to and follow the Virginia link. Besides your balance, you can see your last 90 days of transactions online too.
  • Call Connect EBT Customer Service: 1-866-281-2448.
  • Some grocery stores have a point-of-sale (POS) machine in their customer service area, where you can swipe your card and check your balance before you shop.

Check card reading machines to make sure there’s nothing suspicious overlayed or attached to the card swiper or keypad. The overlays can be difficult to detect but are often bigger than the original machine and may hide parts of the machine.

Learn more from the Virginia Department of Social Services:

JCA Career Gateway and Virtual 50+ Employment Expos Link 50+ Jobseekers to Employment Opportunities and Job Search Training Skills

(by Jodie Rasch, Manager, Jewish Council for the Aging, Career Gateway and CareerTech Programs)

Photo of a close-up shot of a man's hands typing on a laptop computerThe Jewish Council for the Aging (JCA) has two exciting programs designed for people 50 and better who are looking for employment. The Virtual 50+ Employment Expos and The Career Gateway help the 50+ community retool, recharge, and reinvent themselves for today's amazing job market. Both programs offer the 50+ jobseeker opportunities to learn and develop critical job-seeking skills to find meaningful employment.

JCA's Career Gateway program is an intensive, online, interactive, job-search skills training program designed to help adults over age 50 prepare resumes, develop critical job-seeking skills, and link them with opportunities to find meaningful employment. The Career Gateway program assists jobseekers in their resume writing (and rewriting), in their use of LinkedIn and other social media sites in their job search, in the navigation of their online job search and application process, and provides personality quizzes, interview techniques, elevator pitches, and even a mentor – all for the fee of $75! Each session consists of five days of online, interactive, training in small groups conducted by a skilled facilitator from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. 

We have three remaining sessions scheduled for 2023. Find session dates and additional information at Registration for all sessions is open, with the February 2023 session (Session IV) taking place February 27, March 1, 3, 6, and 8. Space is limited and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, please call 301-255-4215 or email to secure your spot in your desired session. We also offer optional employment-related tech classes (CareerTech) in Excel, PowerPoint, Windows/Word, and additional LinkedIn training. And new to our tech offerings – a course on "Becoming a Cyber Savvy 50+ Jobseeker." Professional-minded job seekers will find this the perfect way to refresh their resume, hone their job-seeking strategy, and prepare themselves for the job of their lifetime. It's a fun and exciting way for 50+ adult professionals to learn 21st century skills and techniques to find the right job for them and succeed. 

The JCA's free Virtual 50+ Employment Expos are for Montgomery County, MD, and Northern Virginia residents and employers. The Expos link employers with 50+ jobseekers in a fun, informative, and mutually beneficial way. If you are a 50+ job seeker, you won't want to miss these Expos! On the day of the Expo, join us from 10 to 11:45 a.m. for two morning workshops to learn about current hiring trends and practices to improve your job search. Then, from noon to 3 p.m., network and meet eight to 12 employers hiring 50+ jobseekers like yourself. Registration is free and required for each Expo you wish to attend. The next Expo is Friday, February 17. All 50+ jobseekers are welcome to participate. Register today at

Fairfax County employers with at least three professional job openings; if you are looking for smart, accomplished professionals, register today to be an Employer Presenter and find your next standout employee. Businesses with offices and jobs in Montgomery County and Northern Virginia may register and participate as Employer Presenters at the MD and NOVA Expos. Registration is required and complimentary for all at

Jobseekers and employers, join us for one or all six virtual 50+ Employment Expos in 2023. Register today for the NOVA Expo, Friday, February 17, 2023. For additional Expo dates and to register, please visit JCA's Expos website,

February Community Calendar

Softball Players Needed!
The Golden Girls of Northern Virginia, a senior women’s softball league, is looking for players. Women over the age of 40 and all skill levels are welcome. We play most Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings in Vienna from May-July and September-October. For more information, visit 

Virtual Black History Month Presentations – Three-Part Series
Fridays, 2-3 p.m. on the Virtual Center for Active Adults
-African American Inventors
2/17-Civil Rights Movement
2/24- Female African American Inventors
For more information, visit; To join the virtual presentation on Zoom, visit; Meeting ID: 905 123 5932; Password: 3636

Burke Historical Society Meeting
Sunday, February 26, 3 p.m.

Pohick Regional Library, 6450 Sydenstricker Rd, Burke
Book talk – The Enchanted Suitcase: A Window onto My German Father’s World War II Life
Helga Warren will speak about her book, inspired by her German father’s memoirs of World War II – his journey to Paris, Normandy, a POW camp in Alabama, and to a new life as an American.

Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia (LLI/NOVA) March Forum 
Wednesday, March 1, 10-11 a.m. via Zoom

Our Forum speaker will be Arch Campbell, “The Accidental Critic.” For years, Arch was a fixture on channel 4’s WRC News, first as a feature reporter (including a story about the mysterious “Cabbit” that LLI board member Steve Cohen helped solve) and then as an entertainment critic. Expect a lot of laughing and entertaining tales! Please register by February 27 at noon at

Young at Heart Senior Center Advisory Council Craft and Flea Market 
Saturday, March 4, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Stacy C. Sherwood Community Center, 3740 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax
Join us to shop, eat, and enjoy friendly company while supporting this Green Acres Senior Center fundraiser. For information, email or call 703-273-6090.

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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