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The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia releases study examining the region’s aging population 65 and older

Contributed by The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

A Portrait of Our Aging Population in Northern VirginiaGrants $10,000 to support Northern Virginia Rides Program for seniors
Oakton, VA. (January 16, 2014) – The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia released “A Portrait of our Aging Population in Northern Virginia,” a report on the aging population in the Northern Virginia region.  The study highlights demographic, social and economic trends that impact older adults, ages 65 and over, in Northern Virginia and is one of a series of publications commissioned and published by the Community Foundation to inform, inspire meaningful dialogue, and increase philanthropic and public investment surrounding critical community needs.  It uses data and population projections to identify current needs and to plan for future needs of this population, expected to grow by 76% in the next twenty years.  The research was conducted by the Health Systems Agency of Northern Virginia led by Dean Montgomery and his staff, and includes the most current data available from U.S. Census Reports, Virginia Health Surveys, Senior Stability Surveys, and other sources.  The report can be downloaded at
The basic findings of this report indicate that the Northern Virginia population of adults 65 and older is generally younger, healthier and wealthier than in other parts of the country, and can therefore serve as a tremendous resource for the region.  However, in the next ten to twenty years the older population is expected to grow at significantly higher rates than the national average.  Because of the high cost of housing in the region, there are a significant number of older residents that are economically insecure, and are therefore experiencing poverty, are under-insured, and are relying more and more on in-home care.
Key findings from the report include:
  • Between 2010 and 2030, the number of older individuals in Northern Virginia will increase from 192,589 to 429,300.  At that time, over 15% of the region’s population will be 65 or older.
  • More than 20,000 older Northern Virginians currently live in poverty, and 28% of older households can be considered economically insecure, and an additional 31% are financially vulnerable.
  • The rate of older adults without health insurance in Northern Virginia is about three times higher than the national and Virginia rates.
  • Demand for assisted living services has more than doubled over the last two decades, while older Northern Virginians are using traditional nursing home care at about half the rate of the rest of the State of Virginia.
  • Twice as many older Northern Virginians live with a relative other than a spouse than the national average
The data indicates a need to support seniors aging in place.  In response, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is committing $10,000 to support the Community Mobility: Northern Virginia Rides Program, which provides transportation options to Northern Virginians who would not otherwise have mobility access, by offering a coordinated volunteer-driver transportation model to community groups.  This initiative was developed by the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia in partnership with the Jewish Council for the Aging, Fairfax County Long Term Care Coordinating Council, the Giving Circle of HOPE, Volunteer Fairfax, representatives of community nonprofit social service providers, and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  “One of the most difficult hurdles for our older neighbors is access to the support services offered by nonprofits, hospitals, and other organizations in the Northern Virginia region,” said Eileen Ellsworth, President of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.  “We are investing in an initiative that supports those 65 and older and their families in a very direct way, working with nonprofit organizations and other philanthropists who have seen the results of this study and understand the importance of support in the home.”
“The NV Rides Program is a great example of the power of community.  This collaboration between non-profit agencies, local community groups, funders, and local government to address a pressing and growing need, is bringing out the best that we all have to offer to one another,” commented Jeff Dannick, Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia.  “In addition to providing desperately needed rides to our seniors who are aging in place, this program will facilitate the growing and welcome interest of people from all generations to give back to our community through volunteerism.  It’s a wonderful opportunity for coming together and supporting one another as a community.”
About the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia:
The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia is a public charity that grows philanthropy to help meet the most critical needs of the community. Comprised of giving circles, donor advised funds, community investment funds and scholarship funds, the Community Foundation engages donors and grantees in building the Northern Virginia community, and engages in research to assess the region’s critical needs.
During FY2013, the Community Foundation:
  • Awarded $2.2 million in grants to nonprofits, interfaith groups and schools addressing critical community needs
  • Awarded $240,000 in scholarships to graduating high school seniors in our region
  • Reported approximately $32 million in philanthropic funds established by individual and corporate donors.
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