RALEIGH – Today AARP North Carolina presented US Senator Richard Burr the 2016 “Champion of the 50+” legislative leadership award for his significant achievements during the 114 th Congress that benefit the lives of the 50+ and their families. Senator Burr received his award for his work to reauthorize the Older Americans Act.
It also presented NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin a “Meritorious Service” Award for preventing unfair home insurance rate increases and State Representative Marilyn Avila a “Legislator of the Session” award for her work in the General Assembly to implement initial recommendations from the 2016 NC Institute of Medicine Alzheimer’s Task Force.
“The work Senator Burr has done to help restore crucial services to seniors in North Carolina’s communities was crucial to maintaining the multigenerational fabric that makes our state a great place to live,” said AARP North Carolina President Bob Palombo “His nonpartisan leadership in a partisan environment has been crucial to older Americans.”
Burr joins US Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who also received AARP awards for their work to preserve services to seniors in their community through passage of the Older Americans Act (OAA). “Their leadership to carefully craft legislation reflects bipartisan work and a balanced, pragmatic approach that will help older Americans live with independence and dignity in their homes and communities,” Palombo added.
The Older Americans Act (OAA) funds critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent—services like Meals on Wheels, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment, and more.
Funds from the Act are increasingly
important to North Carolina families as demand for these services has outgrown their availability, resulting in waiting lists in counties across the state. AARP North Carolina Director Doug Dickerson explains, “Helping people live independently at home is the strong preference of the vast majority of adults. It also prevents people from having to resort to nursing homes and costlier institutional care.”
Of equal importance to Older American Act funds, is North Carolina’s commitment to helping older adults age in place. Through Representative Avila’s leadership on the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, critical funding for programs that help both older adults and their family caregivers were preserved.
AARP appreciates the many state legislators who recognize the needs of caregivers, especially those working caregivers who juggle jobs, family responsibilities and caring for loved ones. This year’s award selection was very competitive, since several prominent legislators championed various bills that would serve an aging population.
As the demand for these services continues to grow, Dickerson said, “AARP will continue to work in a bi-partisan way to ensure that the needs of older adults and their family caregivers are recognized by our federal and state elected leaders.”
AARP also recognized the service of Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin for his work to prevent unfair insurance rate increases for NC homeowners. The Commissioner’s decision to impose a zero percent rate increase on homeowner’s insurance was upheld by the State Court of Appeals last week.
Dickerson explained that unnecessary insurance rate increases are particularly hard on fixed income seniors. “AARP has sounded the alarm about unjustified auto and home insurance rate increases. By rejecting the industry’s proposal to increase rates by 25 percent in 2015, Commissioner Goodwin has helped older adults keep a bit more in their pockets to help cover rising health care, energy, food and other costs,” he said.
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