Community Support for Seniors

The senior population is growing rapidly across America, and Northern Virginia is no exception. With the high cost of living in the region, many of our elderly citizens grapple with medical and food insecurities. The insecurities can often lead to senior isolation, hunger, and depression. But what can the community do to assist these pillars of our society?

The Need for Community Support for Seniors in Northern Virginia

Many seniors face a grave situation in Northern Virginia and across the nation. Recently, two nationally known non-profits sounded the alarm.

“9 million seniors in America face the threat of hunger. Millions more live alone in isolation.” This alarming statement from reflects the grave situation many seniors face today.

In a detailed report, Feeding America highlighted that over “5 million seniors were food insecure in 2021.” It’s heartrending to know that “1 in 14 seniors aged 60 and older are food insecure.”

 In August 2023, NVFS published the blog “The Personal Cost of Inflation in Northern Virginia.”  Here is an excerpt from the blog:

“In recent years, the number of American adults struggling to make ends meet each month has increased, rising from 26.7% in 2021 to almost 40% in 2023. ( These rising statistics highlight the personal cost of inflation in Northern Virginia….Many have slipped into financial hardship and are in dire need of assistance.”

With such dire statistics, especially in a prosperous area like Northern Virginia, the call for community support for seniors is evident. But, challenges go beyond food insecurities. Housing, medical needs, and mobility are also significant concerns for seniors in Northern Virginia.

How The Community Can Make a Difference

For anyone with the heart to serve, aiding older adults is an excellent place to start. Taking proactive measures like delivering groceries, offering yard services, initiating community clubs, or providing companionship can substantially reduce senior isolation and hunger.

By joining forces with organizations specializing in such services, such as Northern Virginia Family Service (NVFS), you can make a tangible difference in the lives of many. To find out how community support for seniors makes a positive impact in Northern Virginia, we talked with Navara Cannon, NVFS Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager, about volunteer opportunities at NVFS:

“Volunteering at our Hunger Resource Center to distribute food to the seniors that visit the center is a great way to help the community. We also set aside time for volunteers to create food packages that are delivered by the HRC staff. For younger community members, it’s a great way to bridge the gap between generations.” –Navara Cannon


How Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS) Helps

NVFS plays a pivotal role in alleviating seniors’ struggles in the region. Here are just a few ways in which the non-profit helps the senior population throughout the communities of Northern Virginia:

Hunger Relief: The Hunger Resource Center, catering to families and seniors in Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, is a beacon of hope. For many, it’s a tough choice between affording food or paying bills. The center ensures that no one has to make this agonizing decision. Their initiatives include:

  • Emergency food assistance
  • Nutritional guidance
  • Budgeting strategies for healthy eating

Health Access: Recognized as one of the leading local providers of healthcare navigation and health literacy education, NVFS believes that healthcare access is paramount. Many seniors, unable to afford Medicare deductibles or drug insurance, are left vulnerable. NVFS bridges this gap by:

  • Offering eyeglasses at no cost
  • Offering culturally competent, language-specific mental health services

NVFS Case Managers help patients access medications through the pharmaceutical companies’ Prescription Assistance Programs (PAPs), and other programs if their PAP application is denied. The case manager’s process is to look for the lowest price and most accessible location for the client to receive medications. Additionally, in cases where a client is not eligible for a certain PAP, they ask providers for a comparable, substitute medication for which a client would qualify, as appropriate.

The Importance of Health Access for Seniors 

It is a common misconception that Medicare covers all medical needs for seniors. Many seniors on a fixed income fall into a coverage gap, especially for prescription drugs, dental and vision coverage, or even transportation to medical appointments.

To find out about the health access needs of seniors in Northern Virginia, we spoke to Lydia Allen, NVFS Program Manager, Community Health Equity.

“Our prescription assistance programs help clients – approximately a quarter (1/4) of whom are seniors – stabilize or improve their chronic medical and mental health conditions by connecting them with long-term prescription assistance. Participants in this program are experiencing poverty, do not have drug coverage or are underinsured. On average our clients save $2,400 per prescription through this program.”

“We address individual and families’ holistic needs in an integrated way. If a client comes to us because they cannot afford a medication but doesn’t have transportation to pick-up their prescription at their clinic, we ask them about their needs comprehensively. If a client needs help with Medicaid for herself, but Medicare for her parents, we can appropriately refer all members of a multi-generational family, for example. We then provide clients with information about resources available to them as well as how to access and utilize them.”

Community Support for Seniors is Essential

In conclusion, community support for seniors is essential, especially in high-cost areas like Northern Virginia. By collaborating, volunteering, and donating, we can ensure our seniors live their golden years with dignity, security, and happiness. Visit to learn more about getting involved and making a difference today.