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Council on Aging offers services for older adults in Chatham County

By Angel Dennison
Posted Sunday, August 17, 2008

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Pittsboro, NC - You may not need this information today, but one day, you will. The only thing that we ALL have in common is that we get a day older every day.

Everyone has stories about older adults who cannot afford their medication, older neighbors with no one to care for them, adults with disabilities who have difficulty moving around in their homes or who have no access to appropriate transportation. Or, the stories of people who were sold a great-sounding “no fee” insurance product that will not pay for the care they need. Sound like someone you know?

There are solutions to these problems!

In the mid-1990’s leaders in aging services in Chatham County conducted an extensive long range planning process which included input from a large group of Chatham citizens. With the support and endorsement of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners, the high level strategic planning group determined that the best outcomes for older adults would be provided by establishing a single point of entry for older adults and families needing a wide range of services.

The Council on Aging is the designated portal of entry for services for older adults in Chatham County. The Council on Aging is a 501( c ) ( 3 ) non-profit agency. We have been incorporated in Chatham for 34 years. The operation of this portal model for more than ten years has been of tremendous advantage to our community. In fact, other counties are now (at long last) moving toward this model.

Rather than having to call a long list of providers to piece together a care plan, families can contact the Council on Aging. Our professional staff can assist in determining not only immediate needs but also planning for long term services and supports. We go the extra mile to MEET needs through our programs and our network of providers, and when appropriate we give referrals to vetted individuals, agencies and long term care facilities.

The Council on Aging and the Chatham Department of Social Services have a “best practices” collaborative effort. We work together to make the most efficient use of tax-payer supported services and client funded services, eliminate duplication and overlap, and to fulfill our mission of assisting older adults in living independently with dignity. Both agencies also work with the Chatham Health Department to identify
and support families whose needs are best met through the health department.

We also have programs in place with CCCC Medical Education to sponsor the certification testing fees of nursing aide students and with the UNC School of Nursing to function as a clerical site for the nursing curriculum. We actively collaborate with Chatham Cares Community Pharmacy to meet the needs of uninsured and underinsured seniors, and we provide non-biased insurance consulting services through the NC Seniors Health Insurance Information Program.

We are also senior scam watchdogs! We work with Chatham County and the NC Attorney General to keep predators out of our communities.

Aging services is not only about in home care and nutrition. It is also about: fitness and exercise; home design and maintenance; assistive technology and engineering; speech, hearing and physical therapy; medication management; chronic disease management; recreation; brain fitness and cognitive abilities; mental health; caregiver training and support; senior workforce volunteer and employment training and opportunities; caregiver training and education, including certified aides and certified geriatric aides; transportation; guardianship services; insurance coverage and product decisions; emergency and critical needs response.

The population over 60 is doubling. In two years there will be more people in Chatham over the age of 60 than under the age of 17. Chatham looks like a gold mine for entrepreneurs and national chains who want to be in the business of providing services to older adults.

We actively encourage the development of new services and businesses through the Network for Aging Services, a collaborative of non-profit and for-profit agencies that serve Chatham County. The next meeting
will be hosted later this month by Cambridge Hills Assisted Living facility in Pittsboro, owned and managed by Melissa Thomas and Ray Kelly. If you want to be on the mailing list, please send me an email.

Please share this information with your family, your doctor, your church, your neighborhood association and your coworkers. We have more than 200 active volunteers in this amazing community who help your neighbors receive daily meals, get to medical appointments and maintain their homes so they can live independently. If you would like to start a volunteer support group in your community, please let us know. We can help!

One third of our operating budget comes from client contributions, individual donations, group fundraisers and our events, such as A Taste of Chatham. We cannot operate our two senior centers and our programs without the financial support of Chatham citizens. If you would like to make a donation earmarked for a specific program, please contact me.

Chatham County Council on Aging
PO Box 715
365 Highway 87 N
Pittsboro, NC 27312
(919)542-4512

 
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Council on Aging offers services for older adults in Chatham County
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