The Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
August 28, 2017
What a fun opportunity to write my first blog for Person County Economic Development! The Kerr-Tar Area Agency on Aging (AAA) serves five counties including Person. We just completed the county’s first Aging Plan. It will be presented to Person County Commissioner’s on September 11 during their meeting. In the plan, we examine the county and determine needs for the older adult population. We distributed a survey and received feedback through public forums. The two top aging issues were transportation and care-giving services. In the Aging Plan, the Planning Committee mapped out ways to improve these two vital services for older adults in the county. Planning for the future of older adults affects younger people, too! As one of the Planning Committee members said, “Everything is Better in Person!” The first time I visited Roxboro, it reminded me of a small mountain town. The feeling of closeness and adventure! Person County is in a great position for people to retire. Residents are close to Durham (great shopping and medical facilities), there are lakes, a quick drive to Virginia, and a brand new senior center for older adults in the area. Apparently I’m not alone in my thought that Person County is a hidden jewel in the state. According to SmartAsset, Roxboro ranked 7th in top North Carolina cities to retire! So what does Economic Development have to do with Aging services? It’s proactive planning for an aging population in the county, and it’s the right thing to do. The AAA is funded by the Older American’s Act (OAA) and is housed within the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments. A piece of legislation signed into law in 1965, the OAA funds critical community-based services that keep older adults healthy and independent and in their community of choice for as long as possible with services like meals, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, in-home aid services and more. In 2014, nearly 17,000 people in Person County were aged 60+. We can expect that by 2034 more than 23,200 residents in the county will be 60+. According to the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, it is projected that the county will have a decrease in individuals aged 0-17 as well as those between aged 45-59. This significant increase in growth in our older adult population is caused by the wave of Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, who reach retirement age. In addition, people are living longer and according to our data, residents are aging in place. The growth of the aging population in the next two decades will create opportunities and challenges for long-term supports and services. The Kerr-Tar AAA staff looks forward to the challenge of meeting the needs of older adults throughout the region. Jillian has served in the Aging Network for ten years. She started her career in New Bern, North Carolina as a Human Services Planner for the Eastern Carolina Council Area Agency on Aging and was hired as the AAA Director at Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments on October 2015. Jillian received her BS in Communications from Western Carolina University! She received her MPA degree from UNC-Pembroke. Currently, she resides in Henderson.