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

Dear Seniors,

Just last month, we celebrated Healthy Aging and all the ways seniors like you show us just what healthy aging truly means. One of the things I’ve learned is that our city doesn’t need just one month of out the year to celebrate health and wellness. All year round, older residents across the District show us how to live healthy and active lives. We get to see this on display everywhere — at the grocery store, at our senior wellness centers, at the gym, in our schools, and in our parks. And the best part about it is that healthy aging looks different for everyone! That’s what makes the District so unique. All of us, no matter our age or ability, have the opportunity to choose how we want to age and take steps to live healthier lives.

I learned firsthand that some seniors like to keep active by dancing and I had the honor of watching them participate in TERRIFIC Inc.’s “Dancing with the Senior Stars” event. Others like to keep active by participating in trivia games like our 5th Annual Brain Games (shout out to Ward 3 Wizards for becoming the 1st place winners!). And there are some who attend outdoor workouts at wellness centers like our Hayes Senior Wellness Center in Ward 6. So, it doesn’t really matter how you stay active, just as long as you stay active!

At DACL, we want to make it easier for seniors to stay connected and engaged to the activities and services that promote longevity, independence, dignity and choice. We know that one of the barriers to having all of these things is transportation. Without access to reliable transportation, we know that it can be harder to live an independent life based on choice. But we’re making is easier for seniors to have more choice in how they get around the city through one of our newest programs, Connector Card.

Connector Card is a cost-sharing transportation program that allows older adults to utilize a multitude of transportation at little to no cost. And what I personally love about Connector Card is that our seniors have been able to experience our city in ways they haven’t before. Like booking a rideshare or cab to head down to the National Mall to sightsee or heading from Ward 8 to Ward 3 to visit longtime friends. And, of course, having a ride to the grocery store without having to wait on someone else. With programs like Connector Card, we’re making good on our values — transforming lives at every age and ability, allowing all older adults across the District to live boldly in the way they choose. To learn more about our Connector Card program visit connectorcard.com or call 202-420-7534.

DACL’s nutrition services also ensure seniors have the support they need to live healthy lives. DACL sponsors over 40 dining sites across the city that offer daily lunches and wellness programming. To find a dining site near you, visit dacl@dc.gov or call 202-724-5626. And if you or someone you know is homebound and unable to get out to access nutrition services, you can call us at 202-724-5626 to get an assessment for our
home delivered meals program.

As we embark on the new fiscal year, the team at DACL will continue to keep our core values at the forefront of our minds, ensuring that the programs and services we create are designed with you and for you. If you have ideas and suggestions, please be sure to share them with us. You can send us an email at dacl@dc.gov or call us at 202-724-5626. We’re looking forward to seeing you and learning more from you this fall season.

With gratitude,

Jessica

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