Preparing for our Aging Population

The Carolina Population Center did a Carolina Demography post on the aging of our population.  Did you know that there are nearly 45 million individuals 65 years and older representing 14.5 percent of the population?  So says the US Census Bureau.

Just over 1.4 million of us older Americans live in North Carolina comprising just over 14.3 percent of the population.

This growth has been fueled by the aging of the large baby boom generation and the oldest of us began turning 65 in 2011.  And of course, greater longevity that we have achieved through medical science.

The share of the population at older ages will grow steadily in the coming decades.  By 2035, most than 1 in 5 residents of both North Carolina and the United States will be 65 or older.

North Carolina is projected to have 2.5 million residents 65 and older in 2035.

Our community will be home to a good number of older North Carolinians.  So, the question we need to be asking today is how do we as a community prepare?

We need to think about medical needs, recreational services, training our public service professionals to deal with this population, developing new housing or retrofitting our existing stock, developing retirement communities, addressing transportation needs, updating tax policies, and many other things that we need to do or should do.

This is a great time to have a community conversation about our future needs.  Good advance planning is a requirement.  After all, that future will be here before you know it.


— Fred Black

With An Eye To Diversity, Orange County Tackles Aging Issues

Orange County’s government includes a Department on Aging, tasked with developing programs and working with community partners to address the unique issues faced by local senior citizens. Among other things, the department helps operate the county’s two senior centers, the Central Orange Senior Center in Hillsborough and the Seymour Center in Chapel Hill.

But it’s not enough simply to have programs for “senior citizens” in general – because not all senior citizens are alike, nor do they all face the same issues. With a diverse population, how do county officials ensure they’re meeting the needs of all Orange County’s residents?

Zhenzhen Yu and Ana Lima are bilingual social workers with Orange County, and Ryan Lavalley is an occupational therapy consultant. They joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Thursday to discuss how Orange County’s Department on Aging addresses the needs of a diverse population.


For more information on Orange County’s Department on Aging, visit its page on the county’s website.

Parents Aging? Remember The “40-70 Rule”

As your parents grow older, it becomes more and more important to have those tough conversations about aging – but most American families put off those discussions, often until it’s too late.

That’s why senior caregiving experts are promoting the “40-70 Rule” – a new program that’s designed to help seniors and their children and caregivers through the process.

“40-70” gets its name from a very simple rule: experts say the time to start talking with your parents about aging-related issues is when you’re getting close to 40 and your parents are getting close to 70. That will give you enough time to discuss tough issues calmly and thoughtfully, well in advance of any health crisis or other emergency.

Those issues may include living arrangements, finances, when and when not to drive, health care and end-of-life decisions – and even dating, when your parent is divorced or widowed.

Stephen Lair, of the Home Instead Senior Care branch in Chapel Hill, spoke with Aaron Keck last week on “Aaron in the Afternoon.”

Visit for more information about how to get started with the 40-70 program.

Click here for seven tips on how to communicate with your aging parents. (Key tips: start early, before a problem arises; put yourself in your parents’ shoes; try to find solutions that maximize your parents’ independence; and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.)

And for a longer discussion of the “40-70” plan, visit this link.

Hall of Fame Gala; Master Aging Plan; Fabric Art Workshop

CHAPEL HILL – The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce is hosting a press conference announcing twelve individuals as members of the inaugural class of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Business Hall of Fame.

The announcement will be made Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Spanky’s Restaurant. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Business Hall of Fame honors individuals with a record of achievements demonstrating excellence in business and who have made positive impacts on our community.

The induction will take place on November 13 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the Carolina Inn.  Tickets to the Hall of Fame Gala, a black-tie event include a cocktail hour, live-music, and three course meal.  Tickets are $200 per person or $300 for a pair.  To register and get tickets click here.


The Orange County Department on Aging and its advisory board are sponsoring two Master Aging Plan public meetings next week.

Wednesday October 2 – Seymour Center in Chapel Hill from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Thursday October 3 – Central Orange Senior Center in Hillsborough from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

These meetings are an opportunity to learn the new facts of the Orange County Master Aging Plan and to recognize the accomplishments made in the first year of the five-year plan. Staff will also outline the priorities for the second year like improving transportation access, housing options, fall risk reduction efforts, and more.

You can call the Department of Aging for more questions on the Master Aging Plan at 919-245-4276.


The Orange County Public Library Carrboro Branch is inviting the public to a Fabric Art Workshop on Sunday October 6 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Textile artist, Ali Givens will lead the workshop and help participants to cut and paste fabric onto canvas to create original designs.  The workshop is free, but limited to 20 people, so be sure to call the OCPL to register in advance.

The OCPL Carrboro Branch Library Branch is located in McDougle Middle at Fayetteville Road in Chapel Hill.  To register for the event click here.

Shred-A-Thon; Aging in Community Series; 2013 College Fair

CHAPEL HILL – The semi-annual Shred-A-Thons for confidential paper will be held on October 10 at University Mall and October 12 at the recycling site behind Home Depot in Hillsborough.

University Mall will have the option to either walk-up or drive-through.  The Hillsborough location will be drive-through only.

Both events take place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and are open to residents and businesses of Orange County.  There is a five box limit per event to reduce capacity issues faced in previous years.


The Orange County Department of Aging is inviting Orange County residents to explore alternative housing options for seniors as part of its Master Aging Plan.

The department is hosting a three-part lecture and discussion series in the Fall entitled “Aging in Community: Planning for Our Future.”  The series will be held on the third Tuesday of every month beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The kick-off event is Tuesday at the United Church of Chapel Hill featuring acclaimed author Sarah Susanka.


The 2013 College Fair is a great way to get lots of college information in one location.  The event takes place Tuesday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Dean Smith Center.

No registration is necessary to attend the event.  More than 100 colleges and universities are scheduled to be in attendance.  Bring your questions along with something to hold information.