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Getting the Services you Need

After family and friends do what they can, you may find there are other areas where you need assistance. Now is the time to connect with the aging services network supported by the DC Office on Aging. Two agencies in the District of Columbia can assist you. The District of Columbia Caregivers' Institute can help you with your own personal needs and guide you to reduce your caregiving burden. The DC Office on Aging-funded lead agency serving the community where the elder lives can assist you in a number of ways. The lead agency can provide a social worker to help you understand what services are available and identify services for which you are eligible. In some instances, the social worker may be able to make a home visit to work with you. Your lead agency also will provide some services directly; for other services, staff may have to refer you to other agencies. Following is a list of lead agencies in the District of Columbia and the communities they serve:

Ward 1 - Barney Neighborhood House - 202/939-9020
Serving the communities of Columbia Heights, Park View, Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan, Cardozo/Shaw, Lanier Heights, LeDroit Park, and Pleasant Plains

Ward 2 - Greater Washington Urban League - 202/529-8701
Serving the communities of Downtown, Mt. Vernon Square, Logan Circle/Shaw, Chinatown, and Penn Quarters

Ward 3 - IONA Senior Services - 202/966-1055
Serving the communities of Chevy Chase, Friendship Heights, American University Park, Spring Valley, Cathedral Heights, Palisades, Wesley Heights, Foxhall Crescents, Foxhall Village, Georgetown, Barnaby Woods, Hawthorne, Kalorama Heights, West End, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown Reservoir, and Dupont Circle

Ward 4 - Barney Neighborhood House - 202/939-9020
Serving the communities of Barnaby Woods, North Portal Estates, Shepherd Park, Brightwood, Lamond-Riggs, Petworth, Crestwood, Brightwood Park, Manor Park, Colonial Village, Ft. Totten, and Pleasant Hills

Ward 5 - Greater Washington Urban League - 202/529-8701
Serving the communities of Brookland, Brentwood, Eckington, Woodridge, Ft. Lincoln, Gateway, Trinidad, Carver-Langston, Edgewood, Bloomingdale, North Michigan Park, Michigan Park, University Heights, Old Soldiers' Home, Queens Chapel, Ivy City, South Central, and Arboretum

Ward 6 - United Planning Organization Senior Services - 202/610-3110
Serving the communities of Near Southeast, Capitol Hill, Lincoln Park, Kingman Park, Southwest Waterfront, Stanton Park, Navy Yard, North Capitol, Truxton Circle, Buzzard Point, Ft. McNair, Lincoln Park, and Near Northwest

Ward 7 - United Planning Organization Project KEEN - 202/338-4280
Serving the communities of Naylor Gardens, Randle Highlands, Fairfax Village, Penn Branch, Ft. Davis Park, Benning Ridge, Marshall Heights, Capitol View, Grant Park, Burrville, Deanwood, Lincoln Heights, Benning, River Terrace, Mayfair, Eastland Gardens, Kenilworth, Greenway, Central NE, Twining, Hillcrest, Ft. Dupont, and NE Boundary

Ward 8 - Greater Washington Urban League - 202/529-8701
Serving the communities of Bellevue, Washington Highlands, Congress Heights, Douglass, Shipley Terrace, Knox Hill/Buena Vista, Sheridan, Woodlawn, Garfield Heights, Barry Farm, Hillsdale, Ft. Stanton, Historic Anacostia, and Fairlawn

The following tips will help you to prepare for the call to your lead agency:

  • Think about the questions you want to ask in advance; be as specific as possible about the type of assistance your elder needs or the services you are seeking.
  • Call when you have enough time to discuss the situation without being interrupted.
  • Ask to speak with a case manager or social worker if possible. These persons can help you sort through issues to uncover hidden or unidentified needs your relative may have.
  • Be prepared for a call back if someone is not available when you call.
  • Have information about the elder handy such as his or her insurance information and monthly income. Although services funded by the DC Office on Aging are available to all seniors without regard to income, some other programs are income-based. The worker at the lead agency may need to ask for the elder's income and asset information to determine if he or she is eligible for other services.
  • Ask about the various options for meeting your needs.
  • Ask for a copy of the agency's service directory, if available.
After you have consulted with the elder's lead agency, you may still need to call other agencies to arrange the services you need. This can be confusing and frustrating. Have a pen and a notebook ready and take good notes as you use the following tips to guide you through the maze of aging services:
  • Mentally prepare yourself; you may be transferred, disconnected, and referred to different people before you reach the person who can help you.
  • Use an upbeat, friendly, yet assertive tone with everyone to whom you speak.
  • Introduce yourself and get the name and direct telephone number of everyone with whom you speak.
  • Explain your needs as clearly as possible. The checklist in this booklet might help with this.
  • Ask questions about eligibility criteria, waiting lists, fees for services, and various options for meeting your needs.
  • Ask that program information and applications be mailed to you or your relative.
  • If necessary, schedule a face-to-face interview.
  • Before hanging up, repeat the information you have received to verify your understanding of issues discussed.
  • Be courteous and extend a hearty "thank you" to persons who have been helpful. Flattery just might get you where you want to go.
  • Report discourteous, rude workers to their supervisor.
Once you have completed your investigative telephone calls, you should have a clear understanding of what is available to address your caregiving circumstances. Remember: it is important to complete the follow-up instructions you received.
Part of the Senior Service Network Supported by the D.C. Office on Aging