Jessica Smith, interim director, D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living
Jessica Smith, interim director, D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living

Director’s Message

Interim Director Jessica Smith

Department of Aging and Community Living 

Dear Seniors,

It’s been an incredible time to be at the forefront of the great things happening at DACL! Since DC “reopened,” we’ve been able to connect with all of you in ways that we couldn’t imagine during the public health emergency. Over the last few months, we’ve brought back some of your favorite events like the Ms. Senior DC Pageant and the Mayor’s Annual Senior Symposium — both of which were sorely missed these past two years. At our senior wellness centers and community dining sites, many of you have joined us for group trips to places like the Dutch Market, Arena Stage and the Kennedy Center. And, while you’re there, you’ve continued to connect with one another, which we know is such a vital part of our health and wellbeing. All of these things are what makes summertime with DACL so great.

What’s also been great this summer is having the opportunity to learn from you all. You may recall us launching an initiative back in January called the Future of Aging Project. Since we’ve launched, we have spoken to over 300 seniors. We’ve asked you for your insights, feelings and experiences, and how you want to redesign systems and programs. We have learned so many valuable things from you and how you want to engage with us and other District agencies. Over the past three months, we’ve heard the same sentiment — you want to be respected for your experience, wisdom and knowledge. Older adults want to be treated as individuals who have strong minds and have agency over how they choose to age, and we plan to continue to do just that.

We’ve also learned that while DC has some of the best senior services, we need to do a better job at advertising them and making sure older adults in every corner of the city know about our programs. We’ve heard over and over that transportation is one of your biggest concerns, and that support with getting around is critical to you aging in your homes and communities.

Over the next few months, we’ll take what we’ve heard and turn it into actionable ideas to improve how we serve you. Together, we’ll continue to create systems and a customer service experience we can all be proud of. To learn more about how you can get involved with Future of Aging, please call 202-715-7534 or email us at futureofaging@dc.gov

As always, if you need general assistance, you can call our Information and Referral Assistance line at 202-724-5626.

Enjoy the rest of your summer,

Jessica

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