Seniors outlining priorities

Published 10:23 am Thursday, August 18, 2022

By Allison Brown

Chair, NCSTHL

Public Relations Committee

The NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature (NCSTHL) operates in a two-year cycle, mirroring the work of the General Assembly. The goal is to recommend to the assembly legislation to ensure the quality of life available to NC’s older adults.

Winter and spring were spent studying the most pressing challenges facing older adults, considering information and data from the aging experts, and deliberating impacts and solutions.

NCSTHL members submitted ideas for legislation that could serve to enhance the lives of older adults. A committee is sorting them into one of six categories. Each committee will come up with three proposals.

Then each member will deliberate the proposals. At the October General Session, the NCSTHL will vote to approve the top three to five proposals as its legislative priorities for consideration by the NCGA in 2023.

• Rosalyn Pettyford (Durham County) is the chair of the Crime/Safety/Security Issues Committee, which focuses on physical, emotional, financial threats.

• Former Speaker Rev. Dwight Cartner (Davidson County) is the chair of the Enrichment Opportunities Issues Committee, which addresses gaps faced by those who seek local enrichment such as education, exercise, well-being, and socialization outlets.

• Kaye White (Dare County) chairs the General Legislation Issues Committee, which pinpoints issues that do not fall into the other categorie.

• The chair of the Health Issues Committee guides the team to identify challenges faced by older adults in healthcare, ranging from Medicaid expansion to the need for doctors and nurses specializing in geriatric fields, and programs that advance coverage for social determinants of health, such as Home and Community-Based Block Gran.

• Bill Lamb (Wake County) chairs the Long-Term Care Issues Committee, which addresses shortcomings in the institutional and private setting of long-term care, including resident-to-staff ratios in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities and resident’s rights.

• Gayla Woody (Gaston County) is assigned to chair the Service Access Issues Committee, which detects obstacles that stand in the way of older adults who need to access services such as broadband, telehealth, and digital.

“We are facing many challenges as we strive to meet the needs and demands of a rapidly growing aging population. North Carolina ranks ninth in the nation of age 60+ population and unfortunately, we have gaps in our safety nets,” saidNCSTHL speaker, Norma Duncan (Mitchell County). “There are 11,000 older adults on waiting lists for home-based services that would help them remain active, independent and healthy. The chairs of our committees are strong advocates and eager to establish legislative priorities that ensure older adults can age with dignity and respect.”

For more information about NCSTHL, visit www.ncseniortarheellegislature.org.

Contact Brown, the local member, at katbrown1029@gmail.com.