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Commonwealth Council on Aging 2022 Best Practices Award Winners

The Commonwealth Council on Aging is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Best Practices Awards.

FIRST PLACE

FIRST PLACE AWARD ($5,000):
NV Rides

NV Rides was founded in 2014 after data from Fairfax Country revealed that seniors wished to age in place were concerned about transportation when they may no longer be able to drive. NV Rides is a network of volunteer rides programs serving seniors and persons with disabilities in the Northern Virginia region. NV Rides operates in Arlington, Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William counties through a partnership of 15 organizations (e.g., community centers, Shepherd’s Centers, and faith-based organizations) that provide free rides to older adults via a network of volunteer drivers. Funded via a grant from the Washington Council of Governments with matching funding from Fairfax County, NV Rides supports volunteer transportation in the Northern Virginia region through coordination of rides, marketing, software, and volunteer recruitment and background checks provided to partner organizations. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, NV Rides also provides contactless deliveries from grocery stores, pharmacies, and food banks. In 2021, NV Rides partners served 926 seniors with a network of 506 drivers. Since inception, NV Rides has provided over 60,000 rides and visits, with over 20,377 rides, deliveries and visits in 2021. With its diverse coalition of organizations that serve seniors in the region and an emphasis on recruiting bilingual volunteers, NV Rides works to help seniors get where they need to go.

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SECOND PLACE

SECOND PLACE ($3,000):
Virginia Tech Center for Gerontology and the New River Valley Agency on Aging (NRVAOA) for COVID Companions.

Launched in 2021, COVID Companions is a program to connect older adults and community members in the Blacksburg area and New River Valley. Older adults are provided with an optional tablet and a resource guide so that they can connect over video or the phone (or in some cases, socially distanced outdoors) with their assigned community member. Connections are made on a weekly basis. While the program began with volunteers, most of whom were Virginia Tech students, it has since expanded to include some faculty and community members from the surrounding area. The program is currently serving about 50 older adults, and includes the unique aspect of serving veterans through the engagement of Virginia Tech’s large Corp of Cadets. This program was created to curb older adults’ loneliness during a time of social isolation, but surveys indicate that the younger adults’ perceptions of older adults has improved due to their participation in the program as well. This program will continue post-pandemic as a way to connect community members and form intergenerational connections. The goal of the program is to create an intergenerational bridge to decrease negative stigmas and help older adults maintain or improve mental health.

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THIRD PLACE

THIRD PLACE ($2,000):
Northern Virginia Resource Center (NVRC) for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons for Deaf Seniors Stay Connected.

NVRC Deaf Seniors Stay Connected is a free, hosted, weekly online Zoom chat for Deaf seniors and American Sign Language (ASL) students that provides meaningful interaction for all participants. This free online chat program connects Deaf seniors and ASL college students/interpreters from several Mid-Atlantic states to converse virtually using ASL in an informal, but structured atmosphere. Each week, a Deaf facilitator introduces a new topic for discussion among the average 12-15 attendees. While initially just for seniors using ASL, the program has now welcomed hard of hearing older adults who do not sign. The goal of the program is to ensure that Deaf and hard of hearing seniors feel less isolated and more connected, especially those who are homebound and unable to access or participate in many community activities. The benefit of the virtual format has even allowed one member who moved to a different area to stay in touch with friends who sign, keeping those friendships from fading. NVRC believes this program reduces feelings of isolation, connects Deaf seniors with their peers, and provides meaningful language practice for ASL students.

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The Council gave honorable mentions to the following organizations:

  • Pop-Up Farmer’s Markets by Arlington Agency on Aging
  • Caregiving at a Glance Workshop and Caregiver Cohort by Insight Memory Care Center
  • Leveraging Technology to Combat Isolation during a Pandemic and Beyond by Mountain Empire Older Citizens
  • Regional Transportation Collaborative by Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission and Aging Together
  • Senior Ambassadors by Senior Services of Alexandria
  • “SILENCE ISN’T GOLDEN,” a Public Education and Awareness Campaign about Elder Abuse by Southwest Virginia Legal Aid/Southwest Virginia Elder Justice Task Force
  • The Thelma Bland Watson Person-Centered PCA School by The Longevity Project for a greater Richmond

To view a copy of the 2022 press release, click here. To learn more about the winning and honorable mention programs and how to contact them, click here.

The Council has recognized organizations as examples of best practices since 2006. A list of these organizations and a brief overview of their programs can be found for 2017-2021 and 2006-2016.


Dominion Energy Logo
With the support of Dominion Energy, the Council is pleased to offer monetary awards to the winners. This year, the First Place program received $5,000, the Second Place program received $3,000, and the Third Place program received $2,000.


Boards, Councils, and Commissions - Background

The Aging Programs within the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services has three advisory boards. Pursuant to Virginia Code § 2.2-2100, advisory boards provide advice and comment to an executive branch agency or office. An advisory board, commission or council serves as a formal liaison between the agency or office and the public to ensure that the agency or office understands public concerns and that the activities of the agency or office are communicated to the public. An advisory board, commission or council does not serve a regulatory or rule-making purpose. It may participate in the development of public policy by providing comment and advice.


Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Commission logo    Commonwealth Council on Aging logo    Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board logo   

The advisory boards meet quarterly and all meetings are open to the public. View directions to DARS Office for Aging Services.

Upcoming Meetings can be found on the Commonwealth Calendar. You can search by date or by keyword.




Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Commission

Established pursuant to § 51.5-154 of the Code of Virginia, the ADRD Commission develops and oversees the implementation of the Commonwealth's Dementia State Plan. Among the Commission’s duties and activities are to:

  • Examine the needs of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders, as well as the needs of their caregivers, and ways that state government can most effectively and efficiently assist in meeting those needs;
  • Develop and promote strategies to encourage brain health and reduce cognitive decline;
  • Advise the Governor and General Assembly on policy, funding, regulatory, and other issues related to Alzheimer's disease and related disorders;
  • Develop the Commonwealth's plan for meeting the needs of patients with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and their caregivers, and advocate for such plan; and
  • Establish priorities for programs among state agencies related to Alzheimer's disease and related disorders and criteria to evaluate these programs.

More Information:

Powers, Duties & Bylaws    Reports    Members   

Dementia State Plan    Previous Electronic Meetings

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Tuesday, March 8, 2022  10:00am - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022  
  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022  
  • Tuesday, December 13, 2022  

You can find agendas and minutes from past meetings on our SharePoint site. You can also select a committee below to see just that committee's documents.


For Questions:
George Worthington
Dementia Services Coordinator
Phone: (804) 662-9154



Commonwealth Council on Aging

Established pursuant to §§ 51.5-127 and 51.5-128 of the Code of Virginia, the CCOA promotes an efficient, coordinated approach by state government to meeting the needs of older Virginians. The CCOA supports communities that are accessible, livable, age-friendly, and promote independence. Among its duties and activities, the CCOA:

  • Examines the needs of older Virginians and their caregivers and ways in which state government can most effectively and efficiently assist in meeting those needs;
  • Advises the Governor and General Assembly on aging issues and aging policy;
  • Advocates for and assists in developing the Commonwealth's planning for meeting the needs of the growing number of older Virginians and their caregivers; and
  • Assists and advises the Department regarding strategies to improve nutritional health, alleviate hunger, and prevent malnutrition among older adults.

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Wednesday, April 27, 2022
    Full Council Meeting
  • Wednesday, April 27, 2022
    Executive Committee Meeting
  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022
  • Wednesday, September 28, 2022

You can find agendas and minutes from past meetings on our SharePoint site. You can also select a committee below to see just that committee's documents.


For Questions:
Charlotte Arbogast
Policy Analyst
Phone: (804) 662-7093



Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Advisory Board

Established pursuant to § 51.5-149.1 of the Code of Virginia, the VPGCAB reports to and advises the Commissioner of DARS on the Virginia Public Guardian and Conservator Program (VPGCP). The VPGCAB: Assists in the coordination and management of the local and regional programs appointed to act as public guardians and conservators:

  • Provides advice and counsel on the provision of high-quality guardianship service and avoidance of conflicts of interest;
  • Promotes the mobilization of activities and resources of public and private sector entities to effectuate the purposes of this [Code of Virginia] article; and
  • Makes recommendations regarding appropriate legislative and executive actions.

More Information:

Powers, Duties & Bylaws    Reports    Previous Electronic Meetings

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Tuesday, March 15, 2022  10:00am - 2:00pm
  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022  
  • Tuesday, September 13, 2022  
  • Tuesday, March 15, 2022  

You can find agendas and minutes from past meetings on our SharePoint site. You can also select a committee below to see just that committee's documents.


For Questions:
George Worthington
Dementia Services Coordinator
Phone: (804) 662-9154


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