English essayist Francis Bacon (1561-1626) noted near the end of his life that “age appears to be best in four things – old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” Perhaps it’s time to add a fifth item in the “age appears to be best” category: living in Fairfax County. A new study funded by the MetLife Foundation, and just released by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, recognizes Fairfax County as a national leader in efforts to plan for the needs of aging baby boomers. Fairfax County was singled out as one of only 10 communities in the nation with “great ideas” for serving its increasingly aging population.
One of those “great ideas” is a home care service delivery system that was reorganized into a cluster care model which aligns services around naturally occurring retirement communities. The cluster care model focuses on three components: task-based home care, volunteer services, and home-delivered meals. In just one year, the county was able to recruit, train, and match more than 40 volunteers with senior citizens using home care services. Volunteers provide needed assistance with daily tasks, such as grocery shopping, transportation, light housekeeping, and yard work. Some seniors receive social visits or just a friendly telephone call from volunteers.
The study also applauded the Board’s Aging Committee, chaired by Lee District Supervisor Dana Kauffman, which began meeting earlier this year. The committee will examine various challenges facing the county as its population ages, and develop a com-prehensive policy to address them. Among the challenges are the need to have more housing accessible to people with physical disabilities, and the aging of the county government workforce. The Board’s Aging Committee follows the Mason District Senior Task Force that I convened in 2001 to examine senior issues and forecast what county services would be important by 2020. The full report can be viewed on-line at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/mason/senrcitzntskfrc.
Two annual community events are worth a reminder: the wildly popular used book sale sponsored by the Friends of George Mason Regional Library, starts tonight, from 5 until 9 p.m., tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. The book sale will be at the library, 7001 Little River Turnpike in Annandale. The Pumpkin Patch is open at the First Christian Church, 6165 Leesburg Pike just east of Seven Corners. You can buy the best looking pumpkins and gourds, and help the homeless at the same time, as all proceeds from the pumpkin sale support the Bailey’s Crossroads Community Shelter.
The Art in the Mason District Governmental Center program features watercolors by local artist Marvel Adams. Visitors may view Marvel’s creations during business hours, 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 6507 Columbia Pike in Annandale. The art program is sponsored jointly by the Arts Council of Fairfax County and the Mason District Supervisor’s Office.