The North Carolina Division of Aging administers a number of assistance programs and social services for seniors and the elderly. The statewide organization works with organizations including local Agency on Aging offices across the state, and those local centers are where individuals can apply for help. The agency will try to ensure seniors have information on all resources that are available to them, including food, health care, assistance for paying utility bills, housing, medications, and more.
One of the key programs provided to seniors are Congregate Meals. A number of senior centers, churches, community action agencies and other locations across North Carolina provide lunch meals in a group setting. The service is to promote the well-being and health of older adults through the provision of free nutritious meals. The centers will also give people the opportunity for recreational and social interaction.
Many of the locations were formally called nutrition sites. These are locations for individuals to gather to get a good, nutritious mid-day meal with lots of fellowship and sharing. Older adults and seniors have a number of locations across North Carolina to turn to. They can meet people, learn about nutrition and programs for seniors, access other available services, and enjoy other activities. Free or low cost meals are offered on a voluntary contribution basis.
Home Delivered Meals and Meals on Wheels may also be offered. Volunteers from agency on aging offices will deliver lunch meals to homebound older adults and the disabled up to five days a week. While they can be free, a small donation of a couple dollars is always appreciated. These meals will help either maintain or improve the health of a senior or impaired person to enable him/her to remain in their own home or apartment as long as possible.
This assistance program was created to provide qualified low income seniors and older individuals with free legal advice and representation. The firms that participate may also provide appropriate referrals to human services agencies or pro-bono services across North Carolina. They may also offer community education services to the needy.
Sometimes people can’t afford to pay an attorney, and seniors may need free legal consultation and/or representation for civil matters. There are many types of free or low cost legal services available and many types of legal specialties offered. The office of agency on aging can direct people to the best resources.
Senior Centers, which are also sometimes called wellness centers, offer seniors and the elderly a number of services which address special needs of older adults and the disabled. The locations will provide individuals the opportunity for community involvement, distribute information on local and government financial assistance, and provide for the prevention of loneliness and isolation by increasing social interaction with others.
Senior centers are multipurpose locations. They are community facilities where older adults and seniors come together for services and activities that can help them reflect their skills and interests and respond to their diverse needs. Most centers are a resource for the entire North Carolina town and county where they are located, and offer a diverse range of services and information on aging programs.
Examples of some of the information and assistance programs offered at senior centers are information and referral, free legal assistance, transportation, health insurance counseling and claims assistance, housing/rental programs, details on energy and utility bill programs, and more. Some of the group services are cultural events, group meals, budgeting workshops, retirement planning, educational sessions, health education sessions and wellness activities, community service projects, intergenerational programs, recreational trips, and volunteer opportunities
Adult Day Care – This may offer social and some rehabilitative activities for the frail older person. Services are available during the day in a community facility.
Adult Day Health Care is an organized program of services and assistance that is offered during the day in a group setting. Services available across North Carolina must include health care services and information on medical assistance.
Care Management – Family Caregiver Resource Specialists and Case managers area agency on aging centers provide professional assistance for seniors and older adults with complex care needs. Programs are offered to help families and their care givers in accessing, arranging and coordinating the package of services needed to enable the older adult to remain living at their current home. Learn about senior housing and much more.
The Specialist will continually work on a regional level to establish partnerships with caregiver service providers across North Carolina. They will work with caregivers and those who interact with them as well. The goal is to leverage government aid and resources to improve and expand the available resources/services for seniors and their caregivers. Services that are encompassed in the program are information about available public and private assistance programs, respite, get access and help applying to those services, and counseling.
Health Promotion includes activities such as screenings and physical activity to maintain and improve the health and well-being of older adults and seniors.
The North Carolina Home Improvement program can provide for the labor and/or materials for minor repairs and renovation of dwellings. The improvements will help make the home safe and remedy any serious conditions. The home modifications, improvements and updates must address any risk to the personal health and safety of older adults and seniors.
Agency on Aging offices offer information and case assistance to older adults, seniors, their families and others. All information provided is intended to help them acquire details about assistance programs and resources that can assist older persons and help them obtain appropriate assistance. Case managers can provide information on North Carolina programs such as housing vouchers, low income energy assistance (LIHEAP), food stamps, and much more.
The specialists can help place the individual in contact with appropriate services and programs across North Carolina. The specialist can help people by offering follow up services to ensure that all of the aid was received.
In-Home Aide can help those who are functionally impaired. Older adults, the disabled and/or their families can get help with essential home management, personal care and/or the supervision that is necessary to enable the older adult to remain living at home as long as possible.
Transportation for medical and other general appointments may be provided by agency of aging offices. This service primarily exists to transport older adults, seniors, and disabled to and from medical appointments, food pantries, nutrition sites, and senior centers.
Prescription Drug Assistance is offered in North Carolina. Access to affordable medications and medical bills is key to a seniors health. There is some help available from the Division of Aging and local offices. Many agency on aging centers can provide people with discount cards, Medicare, information on how to access drug company assistance, Medicaid, and other health care programs.
Programs can help older adults find work in North Carolina. They can also ensure people gain job skills or improve existing ones, with a goal of helping people find suitable employment. While the positions will usually be part time (with the goal of eventually leading to full time work) some of the jobs may offer benefit such as health care. The two main agency on aging resources are Senior Community Service Employment Program and the Older Worker Program.
Senior Community Service Employment Program is a work training program for unemployed low-income persons who are over the age of 55. Jobs provided to qualified people are typically with governmental agencies or non-profit groups and include a variety of duties. The goal is to help learn job skills and experiences that will transition them into permanent full-time or part-time employment.
Dial (919) 855-3400 to reach the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services.
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