Elder Care in Fairfax County
An Amazing Array of County Services for Aging Residents
Elder Care Providers in Annandale
The Chamber’s Healthcare Consortium met with the Director of Fairfax County’s Office for Older Adults, Karen Hannigan, to review the many impressive services Fairfax County offers their aging residents. Whether you are ready to receive these benefits personally, or are a caregiver who needs as much information (and help) as possible to properly care for your senior relative, here is a break down of county services.
A famous advocate for older adults once said, “Old age is not for sissies!” While there are, indeed, a great many challenges related to aging, aging often presents wonderful opportunities as well. Many older adults have more time to commit to their own health and wellness, explore their creativity and contribute their ideas and expertise to community planning and volunteering.
Fairfax County recognizes the full range of the experiences of older adults. The county offers a terrific variety of health and wellness programs, learning opportunities, and opportunities for community engagement such as volunteering and participating on boards and authorities. Many county older adults stay very active as evidenced by their participation in county recreation centers, sporting events and leadership in community organizations. Please visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/olderadultservices to find out more about wellness, services and community engagement opportunities for older adults.
This article will focus on the county’s services when older adults need assistance. Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resources Line: The first, and perhaps most important service since it is your gateway to all other services, is the county’s excellent Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resources Line at 703-324-7948, TTY 711. County social workers who are experts in aging services answer calls from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. They can provide information in all languages through a telephone language line patch-in system.
Adult Day Health Care Centers: Fairfax County’s Health Department runs five centers that provide day care to older adults who need supervision during the day. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The centers are licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services and provide a safe, fun and therapeutic environment. The staff includes a registered nurse who can dispense medications. This program also provides support to family caregivers. The Annandale Center is located at 7200 Columbia Pike. You can call them at 703-750-3316, TTY 711
Adult Protective Services: If you suspect an adult living in Fairfax County (over 60 or between 18 to 59 and physically or mentally incapacitated) is being abused, neglected (this includes self-neglecting behaviors) or financially exploited, call Adult Protective Services (APS) at 703-324-7450, TTY 711. State law requires that the identity of people who report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation be kept strictly confidential and reporters are immune from any civil or criminal liability unless they act in bad faith or with a malicious purpose.
In-Home Care Services: In-home care refers to a wide range of services that help people remain in their own homes. This can include housekeeping, grocery shopping, bathing, laundry, medication reminders and more. To obtain these subsidized services, a social worker will visit an older adult in his or her place of residence to complete an assessment. Some of the in-home care services are free and others have sliding-scale fees based on income. If an older adult can afford to pay for these services privately, the county can provide assistance with finding a provider.
Meals on Wheels: Meals on Wheels are offered five days a week and include two nutritious meals: a hot lunch and a cold meal that includes a salad or sandwich. There is also an ethnic meal program, which includes Korean, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern meals delivered in some areas of the county. Call 703-324-5421, TTY 711.
Caregiver Support Services: If you are a caregiver, there are services geared for you as well. The Caregiver Telephone Support Group can be accessed from the comfort of your own home every second Tuesday. Register online or call 703-324-5484, TTY 711. For the Caregiver Telephone Support Group in Korean – Korean speakers can join a free caregiver telephone support group, call 703-324-7948, TTY 711.
Each fall and spring, the county sponsors the caregiver series which includes presentations throughout the county by experts in law, care management, finances and community resources. Find information on the fall series by calling 703-324-5205, TTY711 or visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/olderadultservices/caregivereducation.htm.
Caregiver respite refers to temporary care of a care recipient so that the caregiver can take a break. It can be for a few hours each week or for an overnight. Fairfax County offers a volunteer respite program that provides six hours of respite care from a trained volunteer each month. Email Kristin.Martin@fairfaxcounty.gov.
Northern Virginia Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: This program helps residents and families of residents concerned about care in nursing and assisted living facilities. They can provide information and counseling on selecting a facility, residents' rights, and quality of care. They can also provide information on their investigations.
Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program (VICAP): This program provides insurance counseling and helps resolve claims and billing problems with Medicare. Also, each year, the program sponsors a series of presentations during Medicare’s Open Season – October 15-December 7. The next presentation in Annandale is Wednesday, October 10 at 11:30 a.m. at Wakefield Senior Center, 8100 Braddock Road, Annandale. Call 703-321-3000, TTY 711 to register. Go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/olderadultservices/vicap.htm for more information on this program and additional fall presentations.
One final note, I want to point out the county’s commitment to providing information and services to its multi-ethnic communities. We are aware of and celebrate our county’s diversity which, according to the September 6, 2012 Washington Post, is ranked among the top 25 most-diverse metropolitan areas in the country. As mentioned earlier, our Aging Disability and Caregiver Resource Line can find translators upon request. Also, our webpage can be translated by clicking on the Google translation program.
Mason District Government Center: Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross offers assistance in her office with both Fairfax County Real Estate Tax Relief applications and Tax Preparation for seniors starting in February of each year.
Fairfax County Tax Relief: If you are at least 65 years of age, own and occupy your home in Fairfax County as your sole dwelling, or have permanent and total disability at a younger age, you may qualify for relief from real estate tax, in whole or in part. Household income and asset level limits apply, but many Mason District residents have found that the tax relief program enables them to remain in their homes. Applications are still being accepted for first time filers through Dec. 31st. For information, or to obtain a tax relief applications, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dta, or call 703/222-8234 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., M-F. Spanish speakers may call 703/222-8234. Or, stop by the Mason District Government Center Supervisor’s office to pick up an application.
AARP Tax Preparation: Every spring, volunteers from the AARP Tax-Aide program assist local residents with their federal and Virginia state tax preparation. The free program usually begins in early February and extends until Tax Day, April 15. Specific schedules for the AARP Tax-Aide Program at the Mason District Governmental Center, 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale, are available in early January. Assistance is rendered on a first come, first served basis, and all returns are filed electronically.