May 2023 Newsletter


Myths and Misconceptions About Aging  

Older adults yoga

May is Older Americans Month, a time to recognize the older adults in our lives and recognize the wisdom they impart on us. It is also a time to reconsider previously held beliefs about aging and educate ourselves on best practices on aging. Read on to learn more about these commonly held beliefs: 

Myth: Getting older means getting stuck in your ways.

Fact: People continue to learn no matter their age. Learning a new language, a new skill or a new instrument, can help keep a person stay cognitively active and reduce the risk of developing dementia. Even people with mild to moderate dementia can learn new things if the information is presented in specific ways and with enough repetition. 


Myth: Depression is a normal part of aging.  

Fact: The prevalence of clinical depression amongst older adults is approximately 10%, though it varies from study to study. In other words, 9 in every 10 older adults you meet will not be clinically depressed. 


Myth: Medicare will cover all my medical expenses.  

Fact: Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital stays and short-term stays in a nursing home following a qualifying hospitalization. Medicare Part B covers medically necessary outpatient care and services. Medicare Part D covers prescription medications. Medicare Advantage plans may cover additional services such as vision, dental or hearing services, but may have other limitations.  


Myth: You can apply for Medicare any time after you turn 65. 

Fact: There is a window to apply to Medicare that begins three months prior to one’s 65th birthday month and ends three months after. If one does not enroll during this initial enrollment period, they could be subject to late enrollment penalties. There are exceptions for those who are working for large companies and choose to delay Medicare enrollment. For more information about Medicare enrollment visit 


Myth: Getting older means getting dementia. 

Fact: There’s typical aging and atypical aging. Processing speed and word retrieval may take longer as you age since you have had so many years of cumulative knowledge. Typical aging is forgetting where you put your car key and then finding it in the drawer the next morning. Atypical aging is when you find your car key, a vase, and a deck of cards in the freezer and have absolutely no idea how any of them got in there. That is when you need to be concerned. 


Myth: Only older people get Alzheimer’s disease. 

Fact:  Young Onset Alzheimer’s can affect a person in their 30’s. Alzheimer’s disease with an onset of underage 65 is considered Young. These Young Onset cases account for approximately five percent of overall Alzheimer’s cases. Having said that, age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's Disease. An 80-year-old is more likely to receive an Alzheimer’s diagnosis than a 60-year-old. 


Myth: Dementia is all about memory loss. 

Fact: Dementia is marked by a decline in brain function.  In Alzheimer’s disease the first changes may be difficulty with word retrieval and difficulty with wayfinding. Later in Alzheimer’s, people lose their fine motor skills and may have difficulties chewing and swallowing. Other dementia’s present differently. With Frontal temporal Dementia people can have drastic personality changes, a quiet empathetic man can become loud, impulsive, and appear insensitive to the needs of others.  


Myth: Memory loss is always irreversible. 

Fact: Several medical conditions can cause memory loss including mental illness, sleep disorders, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders etc. One should not assume that a person has an irreversible condition before they have had a thorough workup up by medical experts.  


Older adults
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Dementia Support Program


The RAFT Dementia Support Program is a new initiative in Northern Virginia that is part of the RAFT Program. The RAFT Dementia Support Program fulfills a vital community need for individuals with dementia and their caregivers to prevent psychiatric hospitalizations, and to provide comprehensive education and planning to improve caregiver resilience while improving safety and stability in community placement. 


Anyone can make a referral to the program, using the online referral form. Or contact Sydney Palinkas at or 703-814-2701. 


Older Adult Resource Fair

May 31st / 10am - 2pm


Virtual Training: Overview of Dementia - Hosted by the Washington DC VA Caregiver Support Program

May 31st / 1pm - 2:30pm


Virtual Training: Dementia with Challenging Behaviors - Hosted by the Washington DC VA Caregiver Support Program Support Program

June 1st / 1pm - 2:30pm


7611 Little River Turnpike
Suite 200
Annandale, VA 22003

Phone: 703-531-2144
TTY: 703-228-1788