Our number one priority is to assist older adults and their families and caregivers in identifying needs and securing the resources to meet those needs. This applies to daily issues of independence, transition planning, and unplanned and emergency situations. We work to achieve this in two ways, by collaborating with community partners and by taking an active leadership role in creating and expanding programs and services for older adults.
In addition to the programs and services outlined in this guide, we collaborate with community partners throughout Chatham and Orange Counties.
The Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) is a North Carolina program designed to provide expert and unbiased information regarding Medicare and insurance programs marketed to older adults. We strongly encourage everyone to consult with a SHIIP specialist to evaluate their current insurance coverage, particularly before signing up for new or additional policies.
The Senior Centers host the meetings of the Chatham AARP chapter, an outstanding group of volunteers and enthusiasts committed to enhancing opportunities for seniors and understanding of aging related issues in Chatham County. The AARP also raises funds to provide critical supplies and materials for the Senior Centers, including supplies for our emergency medical carts that are well stocked in the event that the Centers open as emergency shelters.
In collaboration with the Chatham County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), both the Pittsboro and Siler City Senior Centers are prepared to open as emergency shelters under the direction of the EOC. Council on Aging staff is trained to operate the shelters with assistance from county employees. Generators provided by the County are maintained by the Council on Aging. Our staff also maintains certification in emergency response and actively participates in all EOC emergency response preparedness exercises. Our shelters will serve, primarily, older adults and disabled persons and, secondarily, the general population.
Our Volunteer Coordinator works with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to provide free income tax assistance for Chatham County residents of all ages. Both Senior Centers offer the service, and translators can be provided when needed.
The Council on Aging is the lead agency for Chatham County Senior Games, the older Americans organization of the international Olympics. Thanks to support from agencies, volunteers, schools and the Chatham County Recreation Department, this annual event draws almost 100 participants in a variety of athletic events.
NC State University Co-operative Extension Service outreach and educational programs are provided at the centers, including health and nutrition workshops delivered during noontime meal gatherings and occasional evening classes.
The National Family Caregiver Support Program is supported through active development and participation in caregiver education and support groups. This program is funded to support Caregivers over the age of 60 years and Caregivers over the age of 55 who are responsible for disabled adults over the age of 18 years. Our Community Care Manager is a Certified Caregiver educator, and offers their services in collaboration with the Department of Social Services and UNC Hospice.
The Chatham Hospital Diabetes Task Force and the Council on Aging have a long-standing partnership to improve the status of diabetes care throughout Chatham County and to meet the health and self-care education needs of individuals with diabetes. This includes assistance with transition and discharge care, nutrition, medical transportation, assistive devices and other facets of care.
On a statewide level, the Council on Aging is a member of the North Carolina Association on Aging (NCAOA), a non-profit advocacy and education association that supports providers of services to older adults across North Carolina.