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

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer! Although it’s been some time since I’ve been a student, I still think of September as a time to prepare for a productive year, to learn more about our community and how the DC Office on Aging can better serve our residents.

One of the ways we do this is by always listening to the community and working to meet our residents where they are at. In September, all of our Senior Wellness Centers will be holding their annual budget town halls. These interactive town halls are an opportunity for members of the Wellness Centers to vote on the programs and activities they would like to have in fiscal year 2019. We learn so much about our participants through these town halls every year! If you are a member of a Senior Wellness Center—or if you’re interested in joining—I encourage you to attend this meeting and let us know what programs and activities you would like to see in your ward. Reach out to my office at 202-724-5626 to find out when your local senior site will be holding its annual budget town hall.

September is also Fall Prevention Awareness Month and it’s a great time to brush up on steps you can take today to prevent falls and other accidents in and around your home. We are holding Falls Prevention Awareness Day activities in All Eight Wards of the city on September 21st. Join us for free Falls Risk Workshops and screenings at a Senior Wellness Center or designated senior site in your ward. Contact us at 202-724-5626 to learn more about falls prevention strategies you can use in your daily lives to keep you active and moving about safely.

But we’re not leaving all the work to you. Because we know that most older Washingtonians would choose to remain in their own homes as they age, Mayor Muriel Bowser has made it her priority to make the homes and communities or our older adults safer.  Through her Safe at Home program, we have served close to 1,600 older residents with in-home safety modifications to reduce the risk of falls and mobility barriers.

Safe at Home is making it possible for so many of our older residents to continue living and thriving in the homes they know and love. But we’ve learned from the community that there are many more older residents who could benefit from the program but didn’t meet the income qualifications. So in FY 2019, we will be adding a cost-share component, which along with the Mayor’s $4.5 million investment, will enable more residents to participate. Stay tuned for more information on the expanded program in FY 19.

At the DC Office on Aging, we’re learning every day. We’re listening, and we’re always looking for new ways to better meet you where you are at. As Mayor Muriel Bowser says, “Aging well means living well,” and we know that to be the best city in the world to age, listening, learning, and the ability to adapt to the needs and desires of our community is key.

Be well, and remember, aging is living!

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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