Dr. Althea Taylor-Jones joined other AARP advocates from Feb. 18-19 as they prepared to speak to state lawmakers about the specific needs of North Carolinians who are 50 and older. The General Assembly short session begins May 14.
According to Dr. Taylor-Jones, a major focus for AARP members and other advocates is the expansion of Home Care Community Block Grant services, which is designed to provide assistance to family caregivers and provide options for older adults to “age in place” by continuing to live in their homes.
Advocates say in-home care is a personal preference for the majority of older adults, as well as their family members. A Metropolitan Life Insurance study in 2012 reported that the average cost of care in a semi-private room in a nursing home in North Carolina was $194 a day, compared to $19 an hour for in-home aide services.
Dr. Taylor-Jones believes expanding the program will enhance quality of life for older adults as well as family caregivers. James Wall, AARP North Carolina president, said volunteers and advocates have been key in educating older adults and others about policies that affect them.
“Volunteers have been very effective in explaining how policy proposals effect middle-age and older North Carolinians,” he said, noting that volunteers have been effective by conducting personal visits and meetings with lawmakers, taking part in letter-writing campaigns and speaking to community groups and at public forums.
Dr. Taylor-Jones is a long-time advocate for older adults. She served on the AARP North Carolina Executive Council for six years and is now an AARP Key Legislative Contact.
For a more detailed outline of AARP priorities for 2014 and beyond, visit www.aarp.org/nc.