Improving the wellbeing of individuals, communities and our region is one of Centralina’s priorities. We work at the regional level to plan and coordinate health and resilience initiatives across community boundaries. Our specific plans, like the four-year Aging Area Plan, work to directly improve health outcomes for individuals across the region.
The Area Agency on Aging and Regional Planning departments collaborate with local and state governments, the private sector and regional non-profits on holistic solutions for healthy, lifelong communities. One example of a region-wide initiative is CONNECT Our Future, which revealed that investments in housing, transportation and parks and recreation can improve public health. We also coordinate regional response and recovery on pressing and urgent public health issues like COVID-19. See additional examples of our work and services on the Aging & Health focus area page.
Aging Area Plan
The country’s older adult population is rapidly changing in terms of demographics, numbers and lifestyle preferences. According to the NC Department of Health and Human Services, one in five North Carolinians will be 65 and over by 2025 and adults 85 and older will be the fastest growing age group in the next two decades.
North Carolina is also one of the most popular destinations in the country for relocating. Wanting to be near their children and grandchildren, many older adults are following the large number of millennials moving to North Carolina. Older adults are also choosing to retire here to take advantage of our cost of living and beautiful year-round weather.
This increased proportion of older adults will create challenges and given the potential social and economic impact of this unprecedented growth in the aging population, it is critical that we work to improve social determinants of health shown to have a direct positive effect on overall health including access to healthy food, heath care services, transportation and other support services. To help the state respond to these demographic and growth changes, the North Carolina Aging Area Plan identifies important topics of focus related to aging. However, our region still needs a way to execute on those topics in a way that works for our communities, municipalities and governments.
The Aging Area Plan provides strategies and implementations specific to our region to help adults age with choice, dignity and independence. The four-year plan is developed by the Centralina AAA, a leader in older-adult advocacy, training and support services. You can learn more about the Centralina AAA and its services by visiting the Centralina AAA website.
Building the Aging Area Plan
Community engagement is an important element of the Aging Area Plan. Through a series of surveys and focus groups, Centralina AAA engages older adults, their caregivers, non-profits, partners and direct service providers to understand the specific needs in each of the nine counties. Centralina AAA melds together those engagement findings with the state’s priorities to create a plan that will have the greatest impact and value in our region.
The plan outlines the most important issues and priorities needed to provide quality and holistic support to older adults, signaling which needs and services local governments in our region should consider adopting. To help Centralina AAA excel in its role as an advocate, the plan outlines new training and certifications that will broaden the department’s skills and services. It also identifies opportunities where Centralina AAA can better synthesize and curate important data from the national and state level, later leveraging that information to provide best-in-class age-friendly planning assistance to our region.