"Aging Well" is about being happy, healthy, having meaning and purpose, and fulfilling relationships in one's life. At the community level, acknowledging the desires of individuals to age well leads to targeted efforts to better support individuals in their aging journey.
Individuals looking to stay active, healthy, and engaged in life may benefit from these programs and services.
- Multipurpose Senior Centers *
- Transportation and Mobility Assistance*
- Dining Programs*
- Evidence-Based Health Promotion Classes*
- Volunteer Opportunities
- Employment Programs
- Network of Age-Friendly Communities
- Dementia-Inclusive Communities
*financial assistance may be available for those age 60 and older
Multipurpose Senior Centers
A multipurpose senior center is a community facility where aging adults of all abilities come together for services and activities that reflect their skills and interests and respond to their diverse needs. Senior centers are a resource for the entire community, providing education, fitness activities, opportunities for creative and cultural expression, assistance with needed services, and so much more. Many of the senior centers in NC are voluntarily certified as a "NC Senior Center of Excellence" by the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services. This is the highest honor for a center in NC and means that the center offers a well-rounded and exceptional program.
To locate a multipurpose senior center or a "Center of Excellence", view the NC Senior Center Directory
Transportation and Mobility Assistance
Staying active sometimes means looking for help to get where you are going, especially if you don't want to or can't drive yourself. Public transit and private transportation services are available to help you get where you are going. There are public, fixed route options, like the bus, but many older persons or those with physical challenges may need something termed "paratransit" to provide a more tailored option. Paratransit can assist with wheelchair transport and will pick you up at your home and deliver you to your destination by appointment. An application must be completed in advance for paratransit service. (note: Most public paratransit services provide curb to curb service, and cannot assist you into or out of your home).
If you need to locate a ride in our area, the following resources may be helpful:
Go Triangle ACCESS (paratransit)
Senior Transportation Resources from NC 211
Medical Transportation Resources from NC 2-1-1 (If you are a Medicaid recipient, you may be eligible for medical transportation. Contact your local county Department of Social Services to learn more.)
Ridesharing services or volunteer transportation may also be available. Check with your local senior center or Department on Aging to find out what is available in your community.
Mobility assistance training, sometimes called travel training, may be of help if you have experienced a recent change in your physical capability due to illness or a newly acquired disability. In such cases, negotiating the public transportation system may seem overwhelming. Mobility assistance training can help bridge the learning gap for new riders, and give you the confidence and skills you need to stay mobile and independent. Training may be available through the local transit system, or in our area, visit the Alliance of Disability Advocates travel training webpage for additional resources.
Dining is often a social event for most of us but, sometimes, when you are older, you may find yourself eating alone often. Or, maybe you have difficulty stretching your food budget for the month and a hot, nutritious meal would help. Congregate dining programs offer more than a meal and can be a gathering place to make new friends or to try some new activities. The fact that the meals are nutritious and help to provide 1/3 of the RDA for adults is a bonus. Limited transportation may also be provided to some locations.
To locate a congregate dining program near you, view the list of dining sites by NC county.
Evidence-Based Health Promotion Classes
"Evidence-based health promotion" is a term for health improvement programs that have been proven effective for healthy living. These programs have documented health benefits, so you can be confident they work. These program can help you lower your risk of chronic diseases or falls. They can also help you improve certain conditions, such as arthritis or diabetes. They may also help reduce your medical costs through better management or prevention. Service partners in our region offer a number of health promotion programs and can help you identify the right class or program for you.
To find a class near you or to learn more about evidence-based health promotion programs, visit Healthy Aging NC .
Volunteers are an important part of our network and services offered in our region. If you are interested in giving back to your community or sharing your skills and talents, our senior centers and home-delivered meal programs are happy to put you to work.
Volunteers are also the backbone of our Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. Our Community Advisory Committee volunteers are extensions of the Ombudsmen, visiting nursing homes and adult care homes to inform residents about their rights and to just provide a friendly, listening ear.
Finding a job as an older adult can be difficult and you may need to work to continue to pay the bills. Where can you turn for help?
NC Works Online helps workers of all ages to find employment.
Seniors with limited income and in need of job re-training may be eligible for the NC Senior Community Service Employment Program. The program helps place older workers in part time positions in community non-profits to help improve their skills. To be eligible for the program you must be age 55 or older, a resident of NC, be unemployed and have an income of 125 percent of the poverty level or less.
Network of Age-Friendly Communities
Communities across the country are recognizing that our society is aging, and it is increasingly important to support the needs of their citizens as they age. There are many things that can be built into our environments and systems to make them more "age-friendly" and liveable for everyone. Communities that are intentionally committing to this effort are joining AARP's Network of Age-Friendly Communities and developing plans on how they can better support older adults to age in community. Many also include input from their older citizens and involve them in advisory groups to help develop more age-friendly approaches to the built environment, government communications and government services.
We are fortunate that several communities in our region have committed to this voluntary certification process and we are partnering with them on their planning and implementation process. To find out more about which communities are actively committing to becoming a certified Age-Friendly Community and to learn more, visit AARP's Livable Communities website.
To check your neighborhood's livability score, visit the AARP Livability Index.
Living with a diagnosis of dementia or similar cognitive challenge doesn't mean that fun and enjoyment is over. More communities across the country are making the commitment to become more knowledgeable and inclusive of those living with dementia and their caregivers. Our region is fortunate to have several grassroots efforts to help businesses offer a positive experience to these individuals.
To find out more about what is available and business that are making the commitment to becoming more dementia-inclusive, visit these sites:
Dementia-Capable Cary, NC
Dementia-Inclusive Durham, NC
Dementia-Friendly Orange County, NC
Purple Table Restaurants and Businesses (includes NASHER Museum, Durham)
Memory Cafes in North Carolina