The Tar Heel State Sets Priorities for Seniors

Responsive legislaturesNorth Carolina's Legislature encourages citizen involvement and advocacy on aging issues and providing information and education to senior adults and the general public on issues that impact their senior citizen population.

The North Carolina Senior Tar Heel legislature (NCSTHL) met recently in Chapel Hill for its final meeting of 2016. The committees discussed resolutions and established NCSTHL priorities for the next two years. As part of the proceedings, they heard updates on budget cuts to programs for older adults and the importance of advocating on behalf of seniors.

The Salisbury (NC) Post, in an article entitled “Senior legislature seeks to improve conditions for older adults,” reported that the NCSTHL voted to adopt five priorities out of 42 resolutions submitted this year. The 2016-17 new legislative priorities are:

  • Increase Home and Community Care Block Grant funding for cost-effective home and community-based aging services to the elderly. There are about 10,000 seniors on the waiting list for services.
  • More funding for senior centers to meet the needs of a growing older adult population.
  • Strengthen and fund the state’s Adult Protective Services program, as there were over 24,000 reports of adult victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation.
  • Re-establish the Study Commission on Aging which evaluated the delivery of services to older adults and recommended improvements to meet current and future needs.
  • Expand Project CARE (Caregiver Alternative to Running on Empty), which provides respite services to family members caring for a relative with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Speakers explained that a growing concern in North Carolina is that roughly 30% of seniors suffer from malnutrition.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services spoke on the role of the ombudsman and residents’ rights in long-term care facilities. The state’s Ombudsman advocates investigated and resolved 3,800 cases in 2015.

Reference: Salisbury (NC) Post (October 10, 2016) “Senior legislature seeks to improve conditions for older adults”


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