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 June

Featured Articles


Jerry and Michelle Shapiro pose for a photo with Santa with grandsons Cayden and Cameron. Raising Grandchildren: Stressful and Delightful 
Jerry Shapiro, 65, often spends time with his grandsons after school and on weekends kicking a ball around the yard, riding bikes, or heading to the local playground. Jerry and his wife, Michelle, are raising their two grandsons Cayden, 9, and Cameron, 7. When grandparents and other family members care for children who are not able to be raised by their own parents, children experience more stability and fewer disruptions. This arrangement, called kinship care, gives the children a sense of belonging from their continued connectedness to family and culture. Read more.


Photo of a young woman caring for an older womanResources for Family Caregivers: Caregiving From a Distance
Often, family and friends who are long-distance caregivers will wonder if a loved one needs help at home. At times, it is clear when help is needed, especially if there is a new illness or an accident, but how do you really know when assistance is needed if you are not living with your loved one? Read more.


Photo of Teddy the dog visiting with Ruth.Fairfax Pets on Wheels: Licking Loneliness
Since 1987, all-volunteer Fairfax Pets on Wheels (FPOW) has been licking loneliness by providing companionship and improved quality of life to residents of Fairfax area nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult day health care centers. Sponsored by the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging and approved by the American Kennel Club as an AKC-recognized therapy dog group, FPOW’s trained people/pet teams share the power of the human-animal bond through thousands of hours of pet therapy visits every year. Read more.


Photo of a somber looking older manSocial Isolation a Major Concern During the Pandemic
The Fairfax Area Long Term Care Coordinating Council’s (LTCCC) COVID-19 Impact and Response Committee presented its final report to its members, citing social isolation as the key health risk factor in older adults and adults with disabilities. Convened in August 2020 at the direction of the LTCCC Chair and culminating in the final meeting in December 2021, the committee met 25 times. The committee’s purpose and high-level goal was to enhance the lives of older adults, adults with disabilities and caregivers during the COVID-19 crisis and in the near term after. Read more.

More Articles

Switch to the Golden Gazette Email! 

Photo of a laptop open to the webpage to sign up for the Golden Gazette emailReduce paper. Reduce costs. Access from any location. 

The Golden Gazette is a valuable, free resource for older adults and caregivers in Fairfax County and the Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. We currently have more than 15,000 subscribers who receive a print copy in their mailboxes, and more than 7,000 who receive it by email. Approximately 3,000 more people pick up the print version at libraries and other government buildings. And many others read the articles on our website, which are available to anyone, regardless of where they live.

The cost to print and mail the paper version of the Golden Gazette has recently increased. If you've ever considered switching to the digital version to reduce paper and cut costs, now is a great time! 

Follow the directions below to receive the Golden Gazette in your inbox. There is no way to switch to the electronic version by phone. We use an automated system, so the only way to subscribe is to do it yourself, online. But you can unsubscribe to the paper version by calling 703-324-GOLD (4653).

We think you will enjoy the Golden Gazette electronically. It's easy to read and share, reduces paper, cuts costs, and can be accessed from any location.

How to receive the Golden Gazette via email:

  1. Go online to FairfaxCounty.gov/familyservices/older-adults.
  2. Click on Golden Gazette, under Department Resources, on the left side of the page (or you can go directly to the Golden Gazette at FairfaxCounty.gov/familyservices/older-adults/golden-gazette)
  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. After you subscribe to the electronic version, please call 703-324-GOLD (4653) and leave a message to unsubscribe from the paper version. Please clearly say your first and last name and your mailing address. You can also unsubscribe by sending an email to DFSGoldenGazette@fairfaxcounty.gov but make sure to include your mailing address in your message.

Fairfax Area Commission on Aging 

(by Jacquie Woodruff, Legislative and Policy Supervisor, 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 May 18 COA meeting, staff from the Aging, Disability, & Caregiver Resources Line; Long Term Care Ombudsman Program; the Community Services Board, and a Senior Center shared their expertise in a discussion about personal well-being of older adults. Volunteer Solutions staff introduced the COA to the animatronic pets being offered to Adult and Aging clients, senior center participants, and adult day health center participants. 

COA Meeting, Wednesday, May 18, 1 p.m.

The COA continues to meet virtually this month. Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85798205264
Access Code: COA-m1234!

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

For ADA accommodations, contact: Hilda Naranjo, 703-324-7496 or Hilda.Naranjo@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: https://bit.ly/DFS-BAC-COA-Meeting.

Free Classes from ElderLink

Call 703-324-5374, TTY 711, for a free caregiver consultation, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Live Well: Chronic Disease Self-Management

June 9 - July 14 
10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Free. 

This program is for individuals interested in learning how to live better by effectively managing symptoms. Learn how to manage pain and fatigue, eat healthier, remain active, and so much more. Meet others sharing similar concerns. This program meets in person, once a week, for six weeks. Centreville Regional Library, 14200 St. Germain Dr. Centreville, VA 20121. To register, call Dianne Duke at 703-324-7721 or visit http://tinyurl.com/CDSMP123.

Virtual Live Well: Diabetes Self-Management

June 9 - July 14
2-4 p.m. Free. 

This program is for individuals interested in learning how to effectively manage their diabetes. The program benefits those with diabetes and pre-diabetes. Learn about healthy blood sugar levels, meal planning, maintaining physical activity, and so much more. Meet others managing similar concerns. Class offered via ZOOM. To register, call Dianne Duke at 703-324-7721 or visit http://tinyurl.com/DSMP123.

Support Mental Health Awareness

(From the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board)

Image of two women hugging with information about mental health first aidThe impact of a mental health concern on an older adult’s physical health can be severe. Depression is associated with conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Loneliness and social isolation are also linked to serious health conditions.

Getting help or supporting a loved one who is struggling with a mental health concern can feel overwhelming. The warning signs are not always obvious, but you can learn how to recognize them and what to do if they present.

Help is available, treatment works, and people do recover! Call the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board for guidance and resources at 703-383-8500 (TTY 711). CSB Emergency Services are available 24/7 at 703-573-5679 (TTY 711). Call 911 for a life-threatening emergency.

The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) offers free online training courses and tools to all residents of Fairfax County and the cities of Falls Church and Fairfax. You can find links to the following trainings at FairfaxCounty.gov/community-services-board/training/mental-health-first-aid.

1. The Mental Health First Aid training course can help individuals understand mental illnesses, seek timely intervention, and save lives. This course has a fee of $25, with limited stipends available. This course teaches participants how to help people who are experiencing a mental health concern, or potentially could be, and offers ways to:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
  • Listen nonjudgmentally.
  • Give reassurance and information.
  • Encourage appropriate professional help.
  • Encourage self-help and other supports.

2. Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) is a suicide prevention training explaining three simple yet powerful steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. The training teaches you to recognize the warning signs of suicide, ask tough questions and offer hope, and get help to save a life. 

3. Lock and Talk trainings can help prevent suicide by safely securing and storing firearms and poisons, including medications that can be misused. These steps are known as lethal means safety and can also help prevent accidental drug overdoses. The CSB has a limited supply of free locking medication boxes and trigger locks that fit a wide variety of firearms.

4. Take a Confidential Online Mental Health Screening. Completing these anonymous screenings will help you determine if your recent thoughts or behaviors may be associated with a common, treatable mental health issue.

5. Practicing healthy self-care strategies can improve your mental health. 

  • Exercise. Even a small amount can make a big difference in your day.
  • Connect with someone. Make a phone call or visit with a friend or family member. 
  • Start a cycle of encouragement; tell others what you appreciate about them.
  • Listen to music that inspires and motivates you.
  • Write a poem on something you care about, or an article on something you feel is interesting.

Financial Assistance Available for Pet Medical Care

(by Fairfax County Animal Shelter)

Do you, or a loved one, have a disability and use a service animal? Or perhaps you have a therapy dog or emotional support animal? 

Unexpected pet medical bills can be tough to take on. If your pet needs medical care that will be difficult to afford, there are organizations that can help. Fairfax County Animal Shelter shares information on how to find financial assistance. Animals do not typically have to be service, support, or therapy animals in order to apply for financial assistance. 

Visit the Fairfax County Animal Shelter at FairfaxCounty.gov/animalshelter to find organizations that can assist.

Lifelong Learning Programs for Older Adults

(by Kathleen Thomas, Department of Family Services)

Older man in a classroom raising his handLooking for ways to quench your thirst for knowledge, engage in stimulating discussions, or try a new artistic endeavor? Look no further than two dynamic programs for older adults associated with higher education institutions in Fairfax County. 

The Lifetime Learning Institute of Northern Virginia (LLI/NOVA), affiliated with Northern Virginia Community College, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at George Mason University, both offer opportunities for older adults to explore courses on a wide variety of subjects and attend cultural and social events. The courses are not offered for college credit or toward degree programs. Both organizations offer membership options to access the course offerings and events. 

LLI/NOVA is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that offers stimulating and cultural pursuits for adults aged 50 and over. Members sign up for as many classes as they want by joining for $110 annually. LLI/NOVA publishes an online course catalog three times a year with more than 130 stimulating classes (mostly single-session), presented via Zoom or in-person. The classes are taught by volunteers, many of whom are college professors or other experts in their fields. The classes cover many different topics, including history, foreign affairs, science, financial and retirement planning, political science, government, technology, philosophy, psychology, religion, music, art, poetry, and personal development. Members can also attend monthly forums to listen to prominent speakers and meet with other members, as well as attend an annual member luncheon. 

LLI/NOVA also offers travel and cultural excursions, including programs to visit local museums, the theater and nature preserves. The study/travel destinations being considered for 2023 are the Rhine River, highlights of Ireland, and Australia/New Zealand. Members interested in joining special interest groups have a wide variety of options including bridge and other games, photography, finances, food from around the world, and various book groups. Learn more about LLI/NOVA at https://llinova.org.

OLLI is also a volunteer led, non-profit organization that provides opportunities for older adults to explore intellectual and cultural subjects, discover new abilities, and socialize with others who share similar interests. The annual membership of $450 includes registration to attend an unlimited number of courses, trips, luncheons, parties, and picnics scheduled throughout the year. They offer a special introductory rate for anyone who wants to try out their courses and activities for a shortened time. 

Daytime academic courses, special events and cultural activities are offered at three area locations (Fairfax, Reston, and Sterling) with some courses offered virtually. Courses are taught by well-qualified OLLI members and well-known teachers from GMU, government, foreign embassies, and private industry. Music, finance, languages, current events, science, technology, health and many more course subjects are offered. Interested in learning more about regional landmarks and historical sites? OLLI offers excursions to battlefields, wineries, and other nearby destinations.  

OLLI has more than two dozen clubs and special interest groups for members interested who enjoy art, history, theater, investing, books, and more. Additionally, members with an annual membership are entitled to a George Mason University ID card, which provides library privileges, a discounted GMU gym membership, and other benefits. Learn more at https://olli.gmu.edu

There are many opportunities in Northern Virginia to keep mentally active. The classes and events offered by LLI/NOVA and OLLI combine the benefits of learning, developing new friendships, traveling, and indulging in special interests. There is something for anyone interested in continuing lifelong learning.

Resident Councils Serve Important Role at Long-Term Care Facilities

(by the Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program)

Resident councils play a critical role for residents in long-term care (LTC) facilities, but many may not know that the right to form and attend these councils are explicitly documented in LTC facilities standards and regulations. Resident councils serve to allow residents to voice their concerns, request improvements, provide support to new residents, and to help support the facility in making improvements in quality care and life of the residents. In addition, the residents have the right to determine if staff or other visitors may attend the council meetings, and can request to meet privately as a group. Facility staff must provide a designated staff member, with council approval, to assist council members with their grievances, and to act promptly in regard to any concerns brought to their attention.

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 in order to ensure quality of care and quality of life. For more information about resident councils, or other nursing facility and assisted living concerns, please call the NVLTCOP at 703-324-5861, TTY 711, or contact by email at NVLTCOP@fairfaxcounty.gov.

Treatment for COVID-19 Prevents Hospitalization in High-Risk Individuals 

(by the Fairfax County Health Department)

If you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19, effective treatment is now available that can prevent illness from becoming worse leading to hospitalization and death.

People who are more likely to get very sick include older adults, people with chronic medical conditions or a weakened immune system, those who are overweight, and women who are pregnant.

Several types of treatment are available, which may be used at different times or in different groups of patients. Talk with your healthcare provider to get more information about the range of options. 

Other treatment tips include:

  • Follow CDC guidance on testing for COVID-19 and use the Treatment Locator or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to find a testing location that can provide treatment if you test positive.
  • Don’t delay: Treatment must be started within the five days of when your symptoms began.
  • Staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination is still the best way to prevent serious outcomes of COVID-19, including severe disease, hospitalization and death.

June Community Calendar

Medicare 101 Workshops
Medicare 101 Workshops, led by the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP), provide current information on Medicare options. Registration is required. 

Thursday, June 2, Medicare 101 – Virtual 
Noon to 1:30 p.m., Tall Oaks Assisted Living
Contact: Leslye Lawson, Director of Community Relations & Marketing 
Register online http://talloaksal.com/Know, or call 703-834-9800, or llawson@talloaksal.com

Tuesday, June 7, Medicare 101 – Virtual & In-Person (limited seating)
6 -7:30 p.m. Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA, 22043
In-person and Zoom registration: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/8928883 or 703-790-8088, ext. 4.

The 1950 Census and Your Family Search
Mount Vernon Genealogical Society
Tuesday, June 21, 1-3 p.m.
Claire Kluskens, a Genealogy/Census Records Subject Matter Expert for the National Archives, will provide an overview of the newly released 1950 census and demonstrate how to use the census in your family history research. The presentation is part of MVGS’s general meeting on Tuesday, June 21, 1-3 p.m. The FREE presentation will be streamed on Zoom. Register by emailing contact-us@mvgenealogy.org

Northern Virginia Senior Softball for Men and Women
It’s not too late to join NVSS for the healthy rewards of fun, fitness, and friendship playing slow-pitch softball. Average age is 67, with many in their 80s. No try-out, just a skills assessment for assignment to one of 24 teams in 3 skill-level conferences. Tuesday and Thursday morning games. Visit www.nvss.org or call Dave at 703-663-7881.                      

Women’s Softball
The Golden Girls of Northern Virginia, a senior women’s softball league, is looking for players. Any woman over the age of 40 is encouraged to join. All skill levels are welcome. We play on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings in Vienna. For more information, please call visit our web site www.goldengirls.org or call 571-261-9163. 

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


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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