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Chatham Council on Aging seeks input on issues affecting seniors

By Debra Henzey
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2014

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Pittsboro, NC - The Chatham County Council on Aging reports success in finding "A Few Good Men...and Women" to play vital roles as volunteers to advise the Council and also serve as a strong voice for Chatham seniors at the state and regional levels. This team is also seeking input from residents on issues affecting our seniors.

If you have ideas that you would like to share with these advocates for older residents, please write a note to the attention of the "Chatham Advocacy for Seniors Team (CAST)" and deliver it to our Eastern or Western Chatham Senior Centers or email your views to cast@chathamcouncilonaging.org. In addition, they will hold public meetings periodically at the senior centers and other locations within the county.

Dennis Streets, director of the Council, reports "We were able to interview more applicants than were needed for the vacancies on the North Carolina Senior Tar Heel Legislature and the Regional Advisory Council on Aging of the Triangle J Council of Governments. We will certainly keep all of these interested persons in mind as there are certainly many other opportunities for service."

The Senior Tar Heel Legislature informs seniors on the legislative process and aging issues being considered by the General Assembly. This group also promotes citizen involvement and advocacy concerning aging issues and identifies legislative needs of older citizens through a forum modeled after the General Assembly. The Regional Advisory Council advises the Area Agency on Aging on matters affecting older persons and helps develop the Area Plan, which includes Chatham County.

Dr. Anne Kissel, who has been representing Chatham's interests as our Delegate on the Senior Tar Heel Legislature (created by the General Assembly in 1993) and a member of the Triangle J Regional Council on Aging, said, "I am excited that we now have a complete foursome of Chatham County volunteers to advocate for seniors."

This team has already begun to meet and plan strategies to reach into all of Chatham County to learn about the interests, concerns and ideas of seniors, aging boomers, their families, and the general community. Here is some background on each of the advocacy team members:

Dr. Anne Kissel is Chatham's Delegate to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature. She holds graduate degrees in counseling and specializes in gerontology. She has served in several agencies focused on assisting older adults and persons with disabilities, including hospice. Dr. Kissel volunteers with several other groups and is a trained instructor for "Powerful Tools for Caregivers" and "Respecting Choices."

Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler isChatham's Alternate to the Senior Tar Heel Legislature. While relatively new to Chatham, she is has extensive experience in issues related to aging, including the Board of the Enrichment Center in Lee County and the Chatham County Alzheimer's North Carolina Committee, and she is a member of the NC Continuing Care Residents' Association. She is active in Senior Games. She frequently writes about Alzheimer's issues.

Matthew Alexander represents the county on the Triangle J Regional Advisory Council on Aging as appointed by Board of Commissioners. He has been an active volunteer in Chatham and has doing extensive research on how seniors might better "age at home" instead of in senior facilities. He currently chairs the county's Transportation Advisory Committee, which includes a focus on senior transportation.

Rebecca Blalock also serves on the Regional Advisory Council on Aging as a commissioner appointee. She is a longtime resident and recently retired after 19 years as the coordinator of the Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults, which assists persons eligible for Medicaid to remain living at home when they would otherwise require long-term nursing home care. She also has been a nursing home social worker.

Blalock says, "I'm a down-to-earth country woman who is usually able to cut through the fluff and get to the heart of problems and then suggest options."

Streets said that all four people are interested in hearing from residents. "I hope you will reach out to them and let them know what you think is important from a policy and legislative standpoint for Chatham and across the state."

In keeping with the NC Public Records Law, e-mails, including attachments, may be released to others upon request for inspection and copying.

 
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