The Fairfax County Department of Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) and program partner, ServiceSource, Inc., received Honorable Mention from the 2019 Commonwealth Council on Aging's Best Practices Awards Selection Committee in recognition of their transformative Senior Center Inclusion Services. These services provide needed supports to ensure successful inclusion of seniors with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities in programs and activities at Fairfax County's 14 Senior Centers.
According to the Council, NCS and ServiceSource's Senior Center Inclusion Services Program "has become a change agent in transforming the Senior Center community in Fairfax County to operate with more inclusiveness for people with disabilities."
“We are honored to receive this recognition alongside our valued partners in this effort, ServiceSource,” said Chris Leonard, NCS Director. “Through this and all our partnerships, we share a commitment to promoting an environment where older adults of all ability levels can participate in meaningful activities; make strong and lasting social connections; be active in their communities; meet personal goals; and age in place - with dignity and grace - in Fairfax County. We are extraordinarily grateful to all of our partners in working with us towards these ends.”
The value of Senior Center Inclusion Services’ person-centered approach is demonstrated through the success of a participant in her mid-90s who wishes to remain anonymous at the Sully Senior Center in Centreville, Virginia:
Through the assistance of a Recreation Therapist, "Mrs. Smith" participated in four sessions of the Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) class – an evidence-based fall prevention class for older adults. After several months of working with the Recreation Therapist, she began to tell her family of her significant progress and many staff and peers were noticing substantial development of her strength, balance and confidence in her ambulation.
Today, she frequently “shows off” her ability to stand up in class and now participates in dancing at the center whenever there is musical entertainment. One of her greatest thrills was going to a family wedding and feeling confident and comfortable enough to dance with friends and family.
“Senior Center Inclusion Services currently serves more than 1,200 older adults at 14 locations throughout Fairfax County,” Leonard continued. “The core framework of this program has proven time and again that with the right access to support, services, activity and care, seniors with disabilities can maintain an active and social lifestyle that enhances their quality of life.”
The Commonwealth Council on Aging advises the Governor on issues affecting Virginians age 60 and older. The Council’s Best Practices Awards program brings attention and recognition to those programs which might be replicated throughout the commonwealth to meet the challenge of serving older adults in the most efficient and effective manner. This year, the Council’s First Place Award was presented to another NCS partner - GrandInvolve, a local volunteer group that brings older adults into Fairfax County Title 1 elementary schools to improve the success of students.
Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) promotes the well-being of individuals, families and communities by providing a variety of recreation, educational and developmental programs and services; by facilitating community engagement to identify areas of need and enhance countywide capacity for serving those needs; and by connecting residents with a broad spectrum of county- and community-based resources and services to help them be safe, be healthy and realize their potential.
ServiceSource is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to facilitate services and partnerships to support people with disabilities, their families, their caregivers and community members in order to build more inclusive communities. In FY 2018, ServiceSource served more than 4,500 people with disabilities across the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, including seniors with disabilities through the Senior Center Inclusion Services Program. For more information, visit servicesource.org or follow us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ServiceSource1