New Hanover County Board of Commissioners adopts 5-year Master Aging Plan

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New Hanover County Senior Resource Center (Photo: WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — On Monday, New Hanover County Board of Commissioners adopted a five-year Master Aging Plan (MAP).

Led by the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center, the MAP was developed in collaboration with community members and organizations and is the first of its kind in the Cape Fear region.

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“I am incredibly proud to see that our staff is leading the way to ensure that older and aging adults in our community have the support they need and deserve,” said Board of Commissioners Chair Julia Olson-Boseman. “I am passionate about this plan and the immeasurable value it will bring – security, health and wellbeing for our residents now and into the future.”

New Hanover County’s aging population is growing, with more residents over the age of 60 than under the age of 17. By 2030, all baby boomers who were born between 1946 and 1964 will be 65 or older.

In a news release, the county says the MAP will serve as a roadmap for New Hanover County to ensure a comprehensive approach to services and resources in the community that supports and fosters lifelong community engagement and wellbeing.

“Aging is everyone’s business, whether it is a family member, friend or you that is – or will soon be – an older adult, and this plan celebrates and values our aging adults in New Hanover County,” said Senior Resource Director Amber Smith. “Our goal is to have an age-friendly community and a strategic plan that will meet the needs of our residents, promote healthy aging, independence and community engagement, and provide a coordinated system of service delivery. Resident will see through the goals established that this plan spans services across the county and will take all of us to meet the needs of this growing population.”

The MAP identifies eight goals:

  1. Diverse and accessible opportunities for older adults and their caregivers to participate and be engaged in their community.
  2. Older adults are known as valuable members and resources of the community.
  3. Older adults are able to access transportation options for daily needs.
  4. A variety of affordable, quality housing options are located in areas that are easily accessible to necessary resources and services for daily living.
  5. Enhanced ADA compliant, age-friendly, outdoor spaces are accessible, safe, walkable and have convenient access to parking, benches, restrooms and technology.
  6. Necessary health and wellness services available, accessible, culturally appropriate, and affordable to all.
  7. Older adults, their families, and other consumers in New Hanover County are empowered to make informed decisions and to easily access available services and supports.
  8. Older adults who are seeking paid employment, meaningful volunteer experience, and lifelong learning and education are connected with a diverse array of opportunities.

The development of the five-year MAP kicked off in October 2020 with a community-wide survey. It was followed by public meetings for community members to provide feedback, as well as targeted interviews and focus groups with community stakeholders and residents. The Senior Resource Center also worked with the Orange County Department of Aging and the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services for guidance on the development of the MAP.

Over the next five years, the Senior Resource Center and a collaborative group of community partners will implement strategies and track progress of the plan. Presentations will be made to the Board of Commissioners on plan progress each May, during Older Americans Month. Monday morning, the Board of Commissioners also formally proclaimed May 2021 as Older Americans Month in New Hanover County.

For more information and to read the five-year MAP in its entirety, visit SRC.NHCgov.com.