March 24, 2023
2023 Shape of the Region Conference

Aging in Northern Virginia

On March 23, 2023, Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight Region®, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia's Center of Community Research, presented the findings from the report Growing Old Together in Northern Virginia at the annual Shape of the Region Conference. The report and the conference highlighted the complex challenges older Northern Virginians face, focusing on three questions that leaders across government, business, and non-profit can ask themselves in addressing these needs:
    1. How do we make it easier to be a caregiver?
    2. How do we increase the supply and affordability of senior housing?
    3. How do we help individuals afford to age in place?

Over 350 people attended the conference online and in person, from a near complete cross section of civil society, including government officials, non-profit and foundation staff, social changemakers, business leaders, and representatives at the local, state, and federal level. The conference featured multiple panels of national and local experts for candid discussions of the challenges older Northern Virginians face, and what innovative ideas and opportunities may exist in addressing this critical issue that impacts everyone.

The discussion presents a massive opportunity to serve a growing population: in 2020, there were 310,000 adults aged 65 or above in Northern Virginia, an increase of 61 percent since 2010. And Rita B. Choula, MA, Senior Director of Caregiving at AARP's Public Policy Institute and one of our keynote speakers, shared that in 2021, more than $600 billion in unpaid caregiving was performed in the United States, $14 billion in Virginia alone.

Speakers and panelists agreed that all sectors can lean in on this issue, elevate its importance and awareness across all platforms, advocate for changes to the system, and work to address the diverse needs of all aging Northern Virginians, so that we all can "age in place" in this community safely and with dignity.

Please enjoy photos from the event, and read or download the slides shared by our keynote presenters.

Thank you once again to our presentation partners, the Asian American Chamber of Commerce, the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation, George Mason University, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Northern Virginia Community College, the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, the Northern Virginia Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce, the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Asian American Chamber of Commerce, and the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

We would also like to thank our event sponsors, whose support helped make the event possible:
American Psychiatric Association Foundation
Bank of America
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
Deborah Tompkins Johnson— Author, Writer, Speaker
Dominion Energy
Fairfax County Economic Development Authority
George Mason University
Greenspring Senior Living
The Mather
McCandlish Lillard
Northern Virginia Community College
Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, PC
Southern Made Home Care LLC
Washington Gas

Lastly, we would like to thank our hosts and speakers, who offered their expertise in addressing the critical issues discussed:

Melissa Andrews, President & CEO of LeadingAge Virginia
Delores Athey-Clearfield, CDP, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Continuum of Care at Capital City Nurses
Rita B. Choula, MA, Director of Caregiving with the AARP Public Policy Institute
Eileen Ellsworth, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Steve Gurney, Founder of Retirement Living Sourcebook, ProAging Network
Sarah Henry, Director of the Prince William Area Agency on Aging
Elizabeth Hughes, Senior Director of Insight Region® at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Helen King, Director of the Arlington Area Agency on Aging
Dr. Anne M. Kress, President of Northern Virginia Community College
Melinda Merk, Principal at McCandlish Lillard
Catherine F. Schott Murray, Attorney at Odin, Feldman, & Pittleman
Heather Suri, BSN RN CMC, Aging Life Care Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter President
Drew Wilder, NBC4 Reporter

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia would like to express our gratitude for all who attended, our partners, sponsors, our simulcasting partner Striking Media, as well as the event staff of Northern Virginia Community College Ernst Cultural Center.