Article by Trina Mayhan-Webb, Director of Adult and Aging Services, Department of Family Services
(Posted 2021 May)
According to the Administration for Community Living, Communities of Strength is the theme for this year’s Older Americans Month. Fittingly, this theme highlights older adults’ strength during unprecedented times. It is through a lifetime of experiences, successes, and difficulties that older adults may be relied on to face challenges with resilience and wisdom.
In Fairfax County, where our 55 years of age and older population is forecast to grow nearly 23% by 2035, we see first-hand how the strength of older adults adds to our community. When called upon to volunteer, mentor, advise, or teach, an older adult is there to help. As Director of Adult and Aging Services, I am reminded of our mission to enhance the quality of life for older adults, adults with disabilities and caregivers while leveraging a strong support of advocacy from our community.
Often it’s a double-edged sword in that older adults step up first, and yet, so many of
them are in need or will need our services in the near future. We recognize that vulnerable older adults deserve protection from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
This past year has reenforced that strength of community is built and shown by acts of kindness, quick conversations shared with a friend, working in someone’s garden, teaching a new recipe on Zoom, or taking a neighbor’s pet for a walk. And when we share these activities with others—even virtually—we help others build resilience too.
On a personal note, my 99-year-old grandmother Josephine Joyce is an example of someone who has mastered resilience with beauty, grace, and pride. The story of her life is filled with decades of joy and struggles. Just like so many others, she helped in building strong communities and continues to provide a foundation for others to emulate.
Thank you older Americans for the ways you have led and strengthened our Fairfax area community through example!
This article is part of the Golden Gazette monthly newsletter which covers a variety of topics and community news concerning older adults and caregivers in Fairfax County. Are you new to the Golden Gazette? Don’t miss out on future newsletters! Subscribe to get the electronic or free printed version mailed to you. Have a suggestion for a topic? Share it in an email or call 703-324-GOLD (4653).