Local officials and volunteers cut the ribbon for the new McLean Senior Source help desk Wednesday, May 15. The service kicked off Tuesday, May 21.
Photo by Alex McVeigh.
McLean Seniors in McLean now have a one-stop shop to access services with the opening of the McLean Senior Source Tuesday, May 21. Volunteers will man a phone, computer and table in the McLean Community Center in order to connect seniors and caregivers with services they need.
"We live in an information age, that’s the good news. The bad news is that we live in an information age. Just try typing ‘services for seniors’ into Google if you want to feel overwhelmed," said Jane Edmondson, chief of staff for Supervisor John Foust (D-Dranesville). "Senior Source is a way to assist folks who are getting on in years; their families, people with disabilities and their caregivers come to one spot to get the information they need about resources they can use, from the county, state, nonprofits or others."
The idea is a culmination of a 20-month effort by Fairfax County that began with a forum in October 2011, hosted by Foust at Capital One Headquarters in Tysons Corner. More than 100 people attended the forum, giving county staff an idea of what people were looking for when it came to resources and services for seniors in the area.
"This is the outcome of that October 2011 forum, which led to a task force that came up with the idea of a single place people can come to navigate the maze of services out there," said Jane Edmondson, Foust’s chief of staff.
Edmondson said that approximately 30 percent of the county is age 55 and over, making them the largest percentage of the population.
The McLean Community Center provided the space, and Chesterbrook Residences, an assisted living facility in McLean, donated the phone line.
"It’s neat to see this get started," said George Sachs, executive director of the McLean Community Center. "We hope that it will continue and grow and do what it needs to do for the people who need it in this community."
Forty-three volunteers were trained over the past few months, from all around the county. The Senior Source can be used to connect people with resources on things such as community involvement, daily living solutions, education on aging, entertainment and recreation opportunities, financial management, health and wellness, housing solutions, social connections and transportation.
Courtney Nuzzo, administrator at Lewinsville Retirement Residence, said that they had tried a pilot version of the program at Lewinsville, and approximately 4 percent of residents used it.
"The next phase we’re looking at is something called the McLean Exchange, which will be a network for service providers and businesses specifically related to seniors," she said. "That will be coming later this summer and fall."
The McLean Senior Source will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The desk will be located in the main lobby of the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave., and can also be reached by phone at 703-300-1751 and via e-mail at McLeanSeniorSource@gmail.com.