Celebrating Older Americans Month with the Old People Are Cool Relay

In celebration of Older Americans Month, DC nursing homes and assisted living communities, along with the help of their staff, will physically and symbolically connect as a community in a city-wide relay event on May 2nd. This relay honors elders and especially those over the age of 100, celebrates the resilience and strength of those who live and work in senior living, reunites us as a community beyond our walls, and reminds us that we have more in common than that which has kept us apart. Each older American participating has a lifetime of wisdom to share.

This is the fourth year of the event, which was started to build community during Covid in a safe manner, thus it is held outdoors. The American Health Care Association awarded the event 2022 AHCA Program of the Year nationally for building community.  https://youtu.be/5kAZWTnfYMs

Ms. Therell Smith, 106 years young and a native of Washington, DC, lives at Forest Hills of DC and this is her fourth year as a celebrated centenarian in the relay event. When segregation prevented African American dancers from performing with notable dance companies, Ms. Smith founded one of the first African American ballet schools in Washington, DC, to provide dance opportunities in her community. Also participating this year is Ms. Cherrie Neville, 78, Resident Council President at Forest Hills of DC. Ms. Neville, of Michigan, taught elementary school, worked as a hairdresser, is an artist of paint, yarn, and other mediums. Above all, she is a timeless Elvis fan! The residents living in our collective senior living communities have rich stories to tell and wisdom to share.  

On Thursday, May 2, 2024, staff from 7 senior living communities across the District of Columbia will run from their location to the destination of Forest Hills of DC. Each runner will be carrying words of wisdom from the oldest members of their community and will read those words aloud during a celebration program starting at 2:30pm at Forest Hills of DC.  

Charles de Vilmorin, CEO and Co-Founder of Linked Senior is an avid long-distance runner who coordinates race logistics and runs in the event. Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills of DC, coordinates the senior living community participants. Steve Gurney, Founder and CEO of Positive Aging is an avid cyclist and also helps coordinate race logistics and rides his bike during the event. 

This year we are once again highlighting the fact that Old People Are Cool. The DC Council voted to approve an official DC Proclamation that May 2024 be designated Old People Are Cool Month and for the first time this year, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has officially made the same proclamation. This supports our celebration of Older Americans Month, promotes positive aging notions, and combats ageism in our society. We invite and challenge all members of our greater communities in and out of senior living to find ways large and small to celebrate Older Americans in light of these proclamations. (Reference: Old People Are Cool Recognition Resolution of 2024) 

The communities that are participating in this year’s Old People Are Cool Relay in Washington, DC, are as follows:

  1. Forest Hills of DC, 4901 Connecticut Ave, NW
  2. Sunrise on Connecticut Avenue, 5111 Connecticut Ave, NW
  3. Knollwood Life Plan and Retirement Community, 6200 Oregon Ave, NW
  4. Grand Oaks, 5901 MacArthur Blvd, NW
  5. Serenity Rehabilitation and Health Center, 1380 Southern Ave, SE
  6. Lisner Louise Dickson Hurt Home, 5425 Western Avenue, NW
  7. Jeanne Jugan Residence/Little Sisters of the Poor, 4200 Harewood Road, NE


Older Americans Month is celebrated each May, with the theme this year set as “Powered by Connection.” https://acl.gov/oam/2024/older-americans-month-2024 

The run is sponsored by Forest Hills of DC (FHDC) https://foresthillsdc.org/,  Linked Senior https://www.linkedsenior.com/ , PositiveAging Sourcebook https://www.retirementlivingsourcebook.com/ and the District of Columbia Health Care Association (DCHCA) ( https://www.dchca.org/). 

FHDC’s mission is to continually grow as a supportive community that inspires and engages seniors and their caregivers. For 133+ years, seniors have been served via assisted living, assisted living memory care, respite, CMS 5-star skilled nursing care, and rehabilitation services. 

The mission of Linked Senior is to enhance life in senior living and to support person-centered care through life enrichment and dementia engagement using simple technology and non-drug therapy.   

Positive Aging SourceBook was founded by Steve Gurney in 1990 to provide individuals, families, and professionals with the most comprehensive listing of every retirement community, assisted living, nursing and rehab center and home care option in the DC, Northern Virginia, and Suburban Maryland.

The DCHCA mission is to promote the ability of each member to operate in a cohesive way, through the work of the DCHCA, to develop, implement, educate, and assure the delivery of quality care to long term care consumers in a safe and secure environment.  

For further information, contact Tina Sandri, CEO of Forest Hills of DC and Immediate Past Chair of DCHCA at 202-966-7623 or tsandri@foresthillsdc.life


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