Organized “villages” in D.C. help meet the needs of a growing population of seniors so they can successfully live in their own homes. In addition to the services we discussed in last week’s column, Northwest Neighbors Village runs a medical note-taking program for its members, funded by a grant from Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G (Chevy Chase) and operated in conjunction with IONA Senior Services. Volunteers accompany members to medical appointments, take notes and provide a writeup of the visit. For more information, visit nwnv.org or call 202-777-3435.
There are also a number of places in our area where seniors can live in an apartment setting. These include Sunrise on Connecticut Avenue; Chevy Chase House; Forest Hills of DC; Forest Side, for people with memory loss; Ingleside at Rock Creek; Knollwood, for military families; and Regency House (public housing).
The D.C. government offers some programs to help seniors make their homes more accessible and safer through projects such as installation of bathroom grab bars and stair railings; the D.C. Office on Aging will cover the costs for people with annual incomes under $67,000. As long as the proper paperwork is filed with the Office of Tax and Revenue, property taxes are cut in half for seniors with annual household incomes under $128,000, while those with incomes under $60,000 can defer their property taxes without interest until they sell their homes.
The District also operates several wellness centers offering seniors a wide range of activities, such as classes in nutrition, exercise and health. In Ward 4, the Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center is at 324 Kennedy St. NW. There is no such center in Ward 3, but efforts are underway to increase senior programs at the Chevy Chase Community Center at Connecticut Avenue and McKinley Street NW. The D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation has been working with seniors and will hire a senior program manager there with funds added to the city’s budget by Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh.
The center will be one of five D.C. sites for the YMCA’s Fit and Well Seniors Program. Yoga classes, a meditation class and low-intensity exercise classes are among those being considered. Other suggestions include more classes in art and technology for seniors, as well as a better senior activities room than the one that now adjoins the center’s kitchen.
— Ted Gest and Janean Mann