Department of Family Services – Older Adults

Fairfax County, Virginia

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,
Director

Golden Gazette


Golden Gazette newsletter banner graphic

2022 September

Featured Articles


Photo of Barry and Rita Altman sitting in their backyard with their two dogs.Barry and Rita Altman: Devoted to Helping Animals 
Barry and Rita Altman have shared many experiences over their 55 years of marriage that have strengthened their bond – raising two daughters, moving to new places, and building a life together. However, one thing that has always united the couple is their deep love of and commitment to caring for animals. Read more.


Photo of a younger woman helping an older woman who has fallen in a living roomA Primer on the Risk of Falls and Older Adults
Falls are not a normal part of aging. In older adults, falls can jeopardize an individual’s safety and independence. Falls account for 70 percent of accidental deaths in individuals who are age 75 and older. Read more.


Photo of a hand banging a gavel on a deskFraudsters Distort Civic Duty to Confuse Citizens
“Can you believe the gall?” a colleague remarked when we discovered jury duty scams used in Fairfax County. Scammers who attempt to criminally defraud unsuspecting citizens have gone so far as to claim to be law enforcement officers or court personnel, calling and demanding fines be paid for purported failure to appear for jury duty. Read more.


Photo of a naturalization event inside an outdoor tentDirective Aims to Make Citizenship Process More Welcoming to Older Adults and People with Disabilities 
The goal of a recent executive order is to recognize the contributions of immigrants and strengthen the integration, inclusion and naturalization of new Americans. The directive aims to identify and remove the sources of fear and other barriers preventing immigrants from accessing immigration benefits and government services. The order is also part of an effort to improve the existing naturalization process so that immigration processes and other benefits are delivered effectively and efficiently and encourage immigrants’ full participation in civic life. Read more.

More Articles

Mature Living: Continuing Community Connections

COVID-19 has impacted all of us on so many levels and significantly altered the way we connect to one another. In this episode, representatives from three county agencies share how COVID affected their services, and what adjustments they have made to their programs now that we are slowly emerging from the pandemic. 

Mature Living host Anne Hall talks with Dianne Duke, Social Work Case Manager with ElderLink, about how her clients have adjusted, and what the future looks like for her agency’s programs and services. Rabinder Singh, Adult Programming Assistant with the Fairfax County Public Library, reveals how library programs have been affected, and reveals plans for future programs. Lynne Lott, Director of the Sully Senior Center, tells Mature Living producer Fran about how the county’s senior centers – how clients and staff have coped during the pandemic, and what they are planning for both in person and virtual programs in the future.

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: FairfaxCounty.gov/cableconsumer/channel-16/mature-living

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

Volunteer Advocates Needed!

(by Camden Doran, Long-Term Care Ombudsman)

Many residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities can sometimes feel alone, isolated, and powerless. 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. The NVLTCOP is looking for individuals who can advocate for the rights of residents in LTC facilities and help them with concerns that they are unable to resolve alone. If you possess skills in listening, communicating, problem solving, empathy and wish to help residents, please consider becoming a Volunteer Ombudsman and help our program expand our impact in the community. We seek those who are willing to complete a comprehensive initial three-day training, commit to a minimum one year of service, and who can devote at least four hours per week assisting residents at assigned facilities close to home or work. Our next training will be offered in October 2022. In addition, each volunteer will be required to participate in ongoing training opportunities throughout their tenure with the NVLTCOP. 

For more information about NVLTCOP’s volunteer program, please call the NVLTCOP at 703-324-5861, TTY 711, or contact Camden Doran by email at camden.doran@fairfaxcounty.gov.

How to Help a Loved One Age in Place

(by Giuliana Valencia, Fairfax Area Agency on Aging)

Photo of an older woman holding hands with a younger womanHelping a loved one remain in their home and community as they get older is a process that requires an understanding of all the potential barriers of aging in place, such as new illnesses and safety of the home environment.

Knowing and planning what our loved ones’ needs will be in the future is difficult, but one way to begin the process is to look at any existing diagnosis that might affect a person’s ability to remain in their home. For example, if a loved one has dementia, think about how their ability to keep up with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, medication management, etc. might change over time and whether additional support might be needed. In addition, consider how this diagnosis might change the person’s ability to socially connect with others and participate in their community.

Another important aspect of aging in place is the home environment, and how conducive it is to age in place. For instance, if your loved one has difficulty using the stairs, but he or she lives in a two-story house, this might pose a challenge to live safely, and therefore, home modifications might be needed to address the issue. Think about how a few modifications, such as a ramp at the front door, handrails, and nonskid floors could provide a safer environment. 

If you would like to learn more about the community resources available and how to plan for aging in place, call our Aging, Disability, Caregiver Resource line at 703-324-7948 and request a caregiver consultation. 

Panel Conversation: Aging in Place- Program Models and Community Resources

Most of us want to age in place and remain in our community, but as we get older, the odds of becoming more dependent and socially isolated are higher. Therefore, to age in place, it is important to have different services and supports to help us meet our basic daily and health needs. In this panel conversation, we will explore different community models that promote social connection, health, quality of life, and in turn, aging in place.

Panelists include Season Zellman, Fairfax County Health Department; Sherri L. Parker, LCSW, Capital Caring Health; Mia Grigg, Institute on Aging, Friendship Line; and Sara T. Pappa, PhD, Northern Virginia Falls Prevention Alliance. Join us on Friday, September 30, from 2-3 p.m. Online Registration: 
bit.ly/AAAPanel or call 703-324-5484

Caregiver Webinar: What Legal Tool is Right for Me and My Family?

Not sure what legal tools you need to assist in your caregiver journey? Attend this presentation by Legal Services of Northern Virginia and learn the single most valuable legal tool that everyone should have and use. Figure out if you need a will or a trust; determine if you need a guardianship over your loved one. Plenty of time for questions and answers. Learn more about free legal services provided through Legal Services of Northern Virginia. This presentation will be facilitated by Denise Pitts, Elder Law Attorney, Legal Services of Northern Virginia, Inc. Join us on Wednesday, September 21, from Noon-1 p.m. Online Registration: bit.ly/CAREWEB1 or call 703-324-5484.

Caregiver Support Group

The Fairfax County Adult Day Health Centers invites you to join their family caregiver support group on Tuesday, September 20, from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The topic will be on Sleep Challenges. If you wish to attend, please join the Zoom meeting: vdh.zoom.us/j/3222872381

Emergency Preparedness for Caregivers

Join the Area Agency on Aging and the Department of Emergency Management and Security for a preparedness workshop featuring a panel of experts from the Department of Emergency Management and Security, Department of Public Safety Communications (9-1-1), Fire and Rescue, Police Department, Sheriff’s Office.

Join us on Wednesday, September 14 at noon. Online registration: bit.ly/EmergencyWeb.

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.

The COA was in recess in August. 

COA Meeting Wednesday, September 21, 1 p.m.

The COA continues to meet virtually this month. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: us06web.zoom.us/j/87835647834. Access Code: COA-m1234!

For live audio, dial 888-270-9936 or call 602-333-0032; conference code: 231525 

For ADA accommodations, contact: Ana Valdivia, 571-407-6960 or ana.valdivia@fairfaxcounty.gov; TTY services available via 711. 

Meeting will be held virtually unless otherwise impacted by Fairfax County's State of Emergency Status due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For meeting updates, visit: bit.ly/DFS-BAC-COA-Meetings

50+ Expo Celebrates 23rd Year

(by Gwen Jones, Department of Family Services)

Photo of exhibitors and visitors interacting at a past 50+ Expo

The Beacon Newspaper is happy to announce that the 50+ Expo will be held in-person this year after being held virtually for the past two years. Now in its 23rd year, the event will take place on Sunday, October 23, from noon to 4 p.m. at Springfield Town Center in Springfield, Virginia. A similar event with Maryland vendors will take place the following Sunday, October 30, from noon to 4 p.m. at Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Older adults are invited to attend this free event, featuring:

  • Informational speakers, including keynote John Kelly, columnist for The Washington Post
  • Screenings for blood pressure, glaucoma, and Alzheimer’s genes
  • Flu shots and other vaccines
  • Information on programs and resources for older adults

In addition to the scheduled lineup of events, visitors can visit dozens of exhibitors, including government agencies, nonprofits, and local businesses, to learn about programs and services available to older adults. Other exhibitors will share information about retirement communities, home remodeling, financial planning, healthcare, travel, fitness, senior services and more. 

Sponsors include Gold Sponsors AARP Virginia and Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, Silver Sponsors ReCognition Health, Harmony Senior Living, the Montgomery County Recreation Department, and Giant Food, and Bronze Sponsors the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging, Maryland Relay and Habitat America. 

To receive a vaccine at the event, please bring your Medicare and insurance cards. 

For more information, or to sponsor, exhibit or volunteer, please call 301-949-9766 or visit TheBeaconNewspapers.com/50expos.

September: See Something, Say Something

(by Courtney Arroyo, Department of Emergency Management and Security)

The “If You See Something, Say Something®” campaign works with partners year-round to empower and educate the public on suspicious activity and how to report it. The campaign has designated September 25 as “If You See Something, Say Something” Awareness Day, also known as #SeeSayDay. It is more than a slogan. It’s how we protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. 

You play a key role by recognizing and reporting suspicious activity. This September, we encourage you to build awareness in your community about what suspicious activity is and how to report it. To raise awareness about how to recognize and report suspicious activity during National Preparedness Month, we invite the public to share why they #SeeSay on social media using #WhyISeeSay and #SeeSayDay and tag @ReadyFairfax. 

Remember, if it is an emergency, always call 9-1-1 first. Call if you can, text if you can’t. 

Fairfax County Non-Emergency Number: 703-691-2131

To learn more about “If You See Something, Say Something®”, visit dhs.gov/see-something-say-something.

Vietnamese and Korean Speakers Needed as Election Officers for the November General Election

(by R. Kurt Mockenhaupt, Office of Elections)

Photo of a roll of "I Voted" stickers.The Fairfax County Office of Elections needs additional bilingual election officers to assist voters in the General Election, Tuesday November 8, 2022, and in future elections.

Specifically, individuals who speak Vietnamese and English fluently or Korean and English fluently are needed to serve in Annandale, Centreville, Chantilly, and Falls Church.

You will perform all regular election officer duties, including assisting most voters in English, but will be assigned to precincts with a significant number of voters who may primarily speak Vietnamese or Korean. To serve as a designated bilingual election officer, you must also complete a short oral language skills assessment.

Fairfax County is the largest voting jurisdiction in Virginia with 264 precincts countywide. It takes thousands of enthusiastic and trained election officers to ensure that we have efficient and well-run elections. Compensation begins at $175, and training is provided online for new officers.

To apply, visit Vote4Fairfax.com/Apply (be sure to indicate if you speak Vietnamese or Korean).

For more information, visit FairfaxCounty.gov and search “Working at the Polls.”

Got Yarn?

(by Gwen Jones, Department of Family Services)

Photo of a senior center participant showing off the hat she is knitting using a loom.

Looking toward fall and winter, Fairfax County Senior Centers are preparing for the fourth year of their Winter Warming Service Project. 

The project, which kicks off in October, is a donation drive to collect new or handmade hats, gloves, mittens, scarves and socks for adults and children in Fairfax County. The items are given to area nonprofits who distribute them to individuals in need, including adults and families experiencing homelessness. Over 2000 items were collected and donated last year. Organizers are hoping to exceed that number this year with the community’s assistance.

Senior center staff directly support the service project by providing loom knitting classes. The classes teach a lifelong skill while also helping to build social groups and community inclusion among members. Members who attend the classes often use yarn donated by the community to create their handmade donations. Over 80 percent of the hats donated to the drive are made by senior center members, community partners and center staff. 

To set the drive up for success, organizers are asking for support in the form of new, clean yarn – any color, size or blend is welcome! If you are in the process of cleaning out a craft drawer, closet or room, please consider donating your unused yarn to the project. To donate, please email Kathleen.Fries@fairfaxcounty.gov or call 703-734-3338.

Celebrate Communication 2022 Coming to Springfield Town Center on Saturday, September 17

(by Bonnie O’Leary and Dr. Eileen McCartin, Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons)

Photo of exhibitors and visitors interacting at a past Celebrate Communication event.

Would you like to learn about the latest technologies and apps for people who have hearing loss? Cochlear implants and hearing aids? Telephone relay services, captioning, and American Sign Language (ASL)? Support groups for people who are deaf or hard of hearing? 

Join us for Celebrate Communication at the Springfield Town Center on Saturday, September 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Now in its 20th year, this free, unique information fair is hosted by the Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC.org). The fair is specifically designed for the deaf and hard of hearing community, their families and friends. Interpreters will be available to assist in communication where needed, and live captioning options will be available, including showcasing some communication apps on devices provided by Google. Special thanks to our generous sponsors and donors thus far: AARP, Med-El, Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Lesner Hearing Center, Virginia Relay and CapTel, and Cerf’s Up.

There will be a variety of vendors and opportunities to win door prizes! Representatives will be on hand to tell you about local services. The Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing will have information to share about their Technology Assistance Program. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will be issuing reduced fare ID cards for people with disabilities (bring your ID and proof of disability). Learn about a $5,000 Medicare hearing aid benefit. Browse items from our popular deaf crafters, many of whom will be selling ASL-themed products. Chat with NVRC’s team to learn about our ASL classes, tinnitus support, and free hearing screenings. 

Check out face painting for kids from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and photo ops with our Yellow Dog mascot! For more information, visit nvrc.org/celebratecommunication. Questions? Contact 
Bonnie O’Leary at boleary@nvrc.org.

September is Kinship Care Awareness Month

(by Angela Folly Morlu, Department of Family Services)

When children must be separated from their parents, kinship care provides children with the opportunity to grow and learn in a supportive, loving, safe home environment while retaining family, cultural, and community ties. During Kinship Care Awareness Month and year-round, we acknowledge the nearly three million children in the United States, nearly 70,000 children in Virginia, and nearly 4,000 children in Fairfax County who are being raised in kinship care by grandparents, relatives, or close family friends when their parents are unable to do so. Fairfax County partners with public and private organizations to prioritize a kin-first culture where children are raised within their families whenever possible. We celebrate kinship families for their strengths and expertise and help to connect kinship families with county and community resources. For more information, visit FairfaxCounty.gov and search “kinship.” 

Volunteer to Make a Difference

(by Tanya Erway, Volunteer Solutions)

Photo of an older woman tutoring a grade-school child in a school hallway.Help Students Improve Their Reading Skills 

The Assistance League of Northern Virginia (ALNV) helps improve reading comprehension for young students in elementary schools. They currently have tutoring programs at two schools in Fairfax County. At one school, volunteers provide support in individualized reading practice to first graders who need help with reading, comprehension, and vocabulary skills. At the second school, read-aloud practice is provided for first, second, and third graders. The kids are very appreciative and relish having the individual attention when they practice. It’s a weekly time commitment unless you choose to be a substitute. Both roles are needed and ALNV plans to expand its reach. 

To become a part of this program, volunteers must first join their ALNV chapter, and complete a county background check. Go to alnv.org to learn more, to the “Volunteer” tab to register, or send any questions to membership@alnv.org

Volunteer Solutions

Volunteer Solutions offers opportunities to provide support to older adults, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers. Do you enjoy socializing or driving? Would you like to help as a grocery shopper? Are you organized and efficient with household tasks? 

If you prefer group settings, senior centers have various needs for activity leaders, skilled instructors, entertainers, and assistants. Are you bilingual? You’re needed, too! To learn more and register go to bit.ly/FXVSVOL, email VolunteerSolutions@FairfaxCounty.gov, or call 703-324-5406. Volunteer Solutions is a program under Department of Family Services, in partnership with Neighborhood and Community Services.

Befriend-A-Child Program

Department of Family Services needs mentors for children 5 to 12 years old. Males and bilingual English-Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply. Mentors must be able to make a two-year commitment, spend at least eight hours per month with their mentee and participate in monthly group outings. Fill your time in a fun, new way, while making a positive impact on a child. Go to bit.ly/DFSBAC. Contact the Befriend-A-Child Program Coordinator at 703-324-7072, or DFSBefriend-A-Child@fairfaxcounty.gov.

GrandInvolve 

Older adult volunteers are needed to help in Title I elementary schools as mentors, tutors, classroom assistants, and more. They help students achieve and maintain grade-level skills in reading and math, and build confidence. This program fosters intergenerational relationships which are beneficial to all involved. If you’re patient, encouraging, dependable, and interested, email volunteer@grandinvolve.org. For more information go to Grandinvolve.org.

Submit volunteer opportunities to Tanya Erway at VolunteerSolutionsRecruitment@FairfaxCounty.gov

How to Correctly Dispose of Your American Flag

(by Christine McCoy, Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program)

Photo of the American FlagDid you know the average outdoor flag lasts only about 90 days? Flying the stars and stripes outside your home is a great way to showcase pride in our county. But the ever-changing weather and the blasting rays of the sun will inevitably result in a worn-out flag. 

It is against etiquette to fly one that is worn out. It is also disrespectful to simply throw the American flag out with the trash. So, what should you do with Old Glory after it is too tattered to represent our country?

Because it is important to regularly replace flags that are faded or torn, the United States has a set of laws pertaining to disposal known as the United States Flag Code, or “retiring the flag.” 

There are four ways to respectfully retire an American flag:

Donate Tattered Flags

Donating is a great American flag disposal technique. This provides a quick and easy solution for those who are busy and want to make sure their old flags are taken care of properly.

Where to dispose of American Flags in Fairfax County: 

  • Fairfax County Government Center – There is a flag disposal box in the main lobby near the information desk – 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. Collected flags are retired properly by The American Legion. 
  • I-66 Transfer Station and I-95 Landfill Complex – Flag disposal boxes are located at the I-66 Transfer Station, 4618 West Ox Road, Fairfax, VA, 22030, and I-95 Landfill Complex, 9850 Furnace Road, Lorton, VA, 22079, during residential hours. Hours are Mon.-Fri. 7 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Collected flags are retired properly by The American Legion.
  • Fairfax County Police Stations – All Fairfax County Police Stations accept American flags. They are collected twice a year by Police Honor Guard for proper disposal.

Burning

The U.S. Flag Code states that if the flag is not in good enough condition to represent our country, it should be taken down and destroyed. The dignified manner they recommend is burning. This is the manner of retiring the flag that is used in the military. This method is probably not something most of us would consider using. If you choose to use this method, first check with your local fire marshall about what state and local fire codes and ordinances you must follow prior to burning a flag.

Special steps are recommended when using this method of disposal, including folding the flag properly, saluting the flag and observing a moment of silence, or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance while the flag burns. 

Flag Burial

You can bury a flag in the ground in a well-constructed container to keep it protected. The U.S. Flag Code states the cloth should not come in contact with the ground or dirt. Fold it properly and place it in the box. Take a moment of silence or respectfully say a few words as you bury the box.

Shredding

Shredding gives you multiple options to either burn, bury, or recycle the material once it is disassembled. Two methods are recommended for shredding a flag. 

In the first method, you separate each of the white and red stripes. The second option is to cut the flag in half vertically, and then again horizontally. The most important step for both procedures is to make sure the blue section with the stars stays intact.

Shredding gives you the option to either burn, bury or recycle the material once it is disassembled. It is common to recycle synthetic and nylon flags because burning these materials can be hazardous.

Make the Switch – Sign up for the Golden Gazette Email!

By swapping your paper subscription for an email subscription, you will help us reduce paper and cut costs! 

How to sign up for the Golden Gazette email:

  1. Go online to FairfaxCounty.gov/familyservices/older-adults 
  2. Look for the Golden Gazette header with the "Make the Switch" headline; follow the "Sign me up!" link to the Golden Gazette page. 
  3. At the top of the Golden Gazette page, in the dark blue box, you will see the link to subscribe to the "electronic" version.
  4. Don't forget to unsubscribe from the paper version! Call 703-324-GOLD (4653) and leave a message or send an email to DFSGoldenGazette@fairfaxcounty.gov. Please include your full name and mailing address in your message or email.

September Community Calendar

Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia/LLI/NOVA September Forum
Wednesday, September 7, 10-11:00 a.m.

Presentation: Fairfax County Recycling and Disposal Center. This virtual event will take place using Zoom. Please register by September 5 at llinova.org.

Life@50+ | Planning for Your Health, Wealth & Happiness
Saturday, September 10, 9 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

AARP Virginia and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at George Mason University (OLLI Mason) invite you to join us for a special half-day virtual event designed to help you make plans for better living. Learn about the positive powers of lifelong learning, tips for determining if you are on track for a secure financial retirement, practical strategies to help you maximize your Social Security and achieve retirement peace of mind, and more. Follow this link to register: aarp.org/boomeracademy

Northern Virginia Senior Olympics
September 10-24

Watch participants compete in 77 individual events held at 25 venues throughout Northern Virginia. For more information, visit nvso.us.

Sully Community Center Ribbon-Cutting
Saturday, September 17, Noon-4 p.m.

13808 Wall Road, Herndon, VA 20171 
Join Supervisor Kathy Smith and the Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon followed by Community Day from 1-4 p.m. This event will be held rain or shine. Registration is preferred, but not required. For more information and to RSVP, visit bit.ly/SullyCCOpening.

“Restoring the Little Things that Run the World" with Doug Tallamy
Sunday, September 25, 3-5 p.m.

Join entomologist, ecologist and conservationist Doug Tallamy for a talk on the alarming decline of insects from our environment. Learn about the essential roles insects play and some of the simple changes we can make in our landscapes to restore them to our environment. Virtual event. Tickets 
are $10. For more information and to register, visit audubonva.org/news/2022-workshops-classes-events

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


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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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