Content starts here


AARP AARP States Virginia Advocacy

Advocates Brief NoVA Lawmakers on Aging Issues


Advocates for older Virginians urged state lawmakers and candidates recently to support a series of legislative proposals that they say would improve the lives of the state’s aging residents.

“All of these are key priorities if the goal is to make Virginia a place where everybody can age well,” said David Broder, legislative co-chair of the Northern Virginia Aging Network (NVAN) after the group’s 24th annual legislative breakfast in Fairfax. “No one is sufficient. We need all of them.”

NVAN includes the Commissions on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging of Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Price William counties as well as regional service and advocacy organizations including AARP Virginia, which was a prime sponsor of the breakfast.

Organizers said about 180 people attended the breakfast, including numerous members of the General Assembly, staff members and candidates throughout Northern Virginia.

““It was a great showing today,” said Jared Calfee, AARP Virginia associate state director for state advocacy. “The number of elected officials and candidates that were in this room shows how serious they take aging issues in Virginia. It was really positive to see.”

AARP Virginia's Jared Calfee addresses attendees.

The NVAN priorities outlined at the breakfast include three policy objectives and three budget goals. They include:

· Increasing from five to 14 days the period before a landlord or property manager may initiate judicial eviction proceedings. The number of eviction filings has increased in Virginia from 1,591 in May 2020 (when limitations were implemented due to the pandemic) to 11,353 this May, after the lifting of such limitations.

· Allowing state advocacy boards and commissions to hold virtual video meetings without restricting the number of such meetings each year. Currently only one-fourth of such meetings may be held virtually, and there are limits on who is allowed to participate.

· Requiring all new assisted living facilities to set aside at least 2 percent of their total units for Auxiliary Grant (direct state assistance to low-income individual) recipients. Currently there is not a statewide requirement that assisted living facilities provide Auxiliary Grant unites in their facilities.

· Setting the Auxiliary Grant rate for assisted living facilities to $2,500 (plus 15% in Northern Virginia) from $1,609 ($1,850 in Northern Virginia). The rate is scheduled to increase next year to $2,055 ($2,363 in Northern Virginia).

· Requiring nursing homes, assisted living facilities and home care agencies to provide at least 10 days a year of paid sick leave. Advocates argue that not providing paid sick leave forces direct care workers who may have a contagious illness to be exposed to vulnerable patients.

· Requiring guardians of adults to complete initial and ongoing training and directing the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services to develop such training. Private guardians of adults—mostly family members—are not required to have any training in providing such services. Advocates say training would improve the quality of life for adults whom the courts have deemed incapacitated.

The NVAN legislative priorities do not include AARP Virginia’s top legislative proposal—the creation of a prescription drug affordability board with the authority to set upper payment limits on certain high-cost medicines.

Calfee said that the drug price issue is one area where NVAN and AARP are pursuing different priorities, but he was confident that the issue has the support of most Northern Virginia lawmakers and candidates.

“We have had very strong support from most everyone we’ve talked to in the legislature from Northern Virginia for that legislation,” he said. “I’m confident that the people that were in this room are by and large behind us on” the prescription drug board.

About AARP Virginia
Contact information and more from your state office. Learn what we are doing to champion social change and help you live your best life.