– AARPNC Members to Ask NCGA to Better Support the Needs of NC’s Aging Population –
RALEIGH — AARP volunteers met here this week to prepare for North Carolina’s 2014 Legislative Session. Although this year is a short session, AARP will be advocating to build support for programs that help adults age in place.
State President James Wall said, “AARP members are the organization’s most effective advocates. Their personal stories and experiences are what lawmakers really value when it comes to weighing the impact of policy proposals.”
In January, AARP released it priorities for 2014 and beyond. Among its top priorities in the state, AARP will be working to better meet the needs of the state’s growing aging population where the number of adults over age 60 now outnumber people ages 17 and under.
AARPNC Associate State Director Mary Bethel explained, “In North Carolina, we now have key legislative contacts in a majority of districts. By meeting with their elected leaders, informing their family, friends and neighbors, and speaking out at public forums, these contacts are extremely effective in explaining how the legislative proposals effect real people. They have been, and will remain, our most effective voice.”
Last year, AARP volunteers were instrumental in stopping a state tax on Social Security, medications and groceries. They also helped defeat legislation that would have raised automobile insurance rates. Although AARP had a few important wins, it said much more needs to be accomplished.
“Moving forward, focus will continue to be placed on preserving and expanding funding for very popular programs that enable older adults stay in their homes and ensuring that funding for home and community based services for seniors are not cut,” Bethel said.
She added, “Aging in place is not only a strong preference for individuals, it is also less expensive than institutional care. But it requires the contributions of caregivers, who in large part, are family members who are making great personal and financial sacrifices. We must find ways to support them.”
Photo: Rep. Jim Fulghum (R), Vice-Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, provided AARP members with some pointers to how to be an effective advocate.