Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living
Laura Newland, director, DC Office of Aging and Community Living

I hope everyone is keeping cool and staying safe. So much has changed for all of us over the past several months, but no matter what, the Department of Aging and Community Living is still here for you! DACL continues to provide critical resources, programs and activities to keep our community healthy, safe and engaged.

Stay Active

We’re social distancing, but that doesn’t mean you need to be socially distant. This month, fill up your calendar with activities you can join from the comfort of your own living room. Check out our virtual events site at Wherever you are, you can join aerobics class live on Zoom, trade gardening tips with friends on a conference call, learn to paint, or join the DC Public Library for their weekly Lunchtime Literature program.

Stay Cool

During the hottest month of the year it’s so important to be proactive and take precautions to avoid illness from exposure to excessive heat and humidity. We want to make sure you can StayCool at home while you’re enjoying these virtual activities. So, we’ve joined the Department of Energy and Environment to launch our Seniors StayCool Air Conditioning Pilot Program this month! Income-eligible residents, age 60 and older, may qualify to have your window air conditioning unit or HVAC unit repaired or replaced at no cost to them. To  learn more about this new program, give us a call at 202-236-2657.

Remember to also keep these tips in mind:

Drink plenty of liquids, such as water or fruit or vegetable juices. Stay away from drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. If your doctor has told you to limit your liquids, ask what you should do when it is very hot.

If you live in a home or apartment without fans or air conditioning, try to keep your house as cool as possible. Limit your use of the oven. Keep your shades, blinds, or curtains closed during the hottest part of the day. Open your windows at night.

If your house is hot, try to spend time during mid-day some place that has air conditioning — the District provides several cooling centers where you can seek relief from the heat and where strict social distancing measures are in place — don’t forget your mask! To  locate a cooling center near you, dial 311.

Dress for the weather. Some people find natural fabrics, such as cotton, to be cooler than synthetic fibers.

Don’t try to exercise or do a lot of activities outdoors when it’s hot.

Keep Our Community Safe

Even through the Public Health Emergency, our hotlines are operating around the clock! If you or someone you know has been the victim of any kind of abuse, please reach out to us. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We  can make our community safer for everyone.

If you suspect the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult, call DACL’s Adult Protective Services team at 202-541-3950.

Keep children safe during the public health emergency by reporting suspected child abuse and neglect to the Child and Family Services Agency at 202-671- SAFE (7233).

Contact the DC Victim Hotline at (844) 4-HELP-DC (844-443-5732) or online chat at for free confidential, around-the-clock information and referrals for victims of ALL CRIME in the District of Columbia.

It’s true that DC doesn’t look exactly the way it did six months ago, and our programs look a little different, but our commitment to you is stronger than ever. These are unprecedented times, and we’ve all been challenged in different ways, but as the Mayor says, we’re in this together, and we’ll get through this together. I hope to see or hear you at one (or several!) of our virtual events. Stay active, stay cool, and stay safe!

For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please visit

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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