Davie population aging; legislature doesn’t always agree with appointees

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, June 11, 2024

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A total of 29 percent of Davie’s population is age 60 or older, and that trend is expected to continue at a growth rate of 36 percent.

Of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 88 have more people age 60 and above than under age 18. Compared to the nation, North Carolina has the ninth largest percentage of residents over age 60.

The NC Senior Tar Heel Legislature (NCSTHL) has been tasked with coming up with ideas to help this aging population, but their recommendations aren’t always followed by legislators, said Allison Brown, Davie County’s delegate, after attending the general session in Raleigh June 4-5 where NC House Rep. Frank Sossaman was a guest speaker.

“We were thrilled that Rep. Sossaman took time out of his schedule to speak and provide helpful insights for advocating with legislators about issues concerning the older adults of North Carolina,” she said.

The NCSTHL was created to advise the NC General Assembly regarding the needs of older adults, and to recommend impactful legislation to improve their lives.

“The advocacy role of the NCSTHL is more important than ever with the increase in the number of older North Carolinians,” Brown said.

Sossamon joined a panel of NCSTHL members discussing ways to improve advocacy. Sossamon encouraged the members to meet with legislators in their home districts and to remind them that not only is the age 60+ population large and growing, it is also the age group with the highest voting turnout rate.

“Part of our meeting included identifying key issues for NC older adults that will eventually become resolutions to present to NC General Assembly in 2025,” Brown said. “It is important work to identify the priorities that will best represent the interests and needs of older adults, and to remind our influencers that improving life for the elderly serves to improve life for all ages and through all stages of life.”

Jill Simmerman-Lawrence, newly appointed deputy director of the NC Division of Aging, also addressed the session. She reported on the All Ages All Stages NC (AAASNC) project, launched in May 2023 as a groundbreaking multi-sector plan to transform the infrastructure and coordination of services across multiple state agencies and departments.

A preliminary plan has been presented to the governor that includes 160 recommendations to be distilled and developed for a final plan. For more information, access https://www.ncdhhs.gov/all-ages-all-stages-nc-progress-report-governor/open.

She also shared an update on the aging programs impacted by the state budget approved in 2023. Although the state is supporting many critical programs, such as Medicaid Expansion and housing improvement solutions, the budget does not include funding for any of the recommendations made by the NCSTHL in 2023.

For more information, contact Brown at ncsthlpr@gmail.com, 336-940-8185; or visit https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/aging-and-adult-services/daas-councils-and-committees/nc-senior-tar-heel-legislature.

Visit the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency Aging for additional resources at https://www.ptrc.org/services/area-agency-on-aging.

The NCSTHL was created as a nonpartisan, unicameral body by the N.C. General Assembly in 1993. Its purpose is to identify the most pressing issues facing older adults across the state and propose legislation that will improve their quality of life to the NC General Assembly. The NCSTHL is comprised of delegates and alternates representing each of North Carolina’s 100 counties, supported by the Area Agency on Aging serving the state’s 16 service areas.