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LETTERS / The North Carolina Senior Tarheel Legislature to Improve Lives of Senior Citizens

Dear Editor,

Did you know that 24% of North Carolinians are 60 years of age and older and that the number is growing?  Just as we need to implement appropriate programs for our children and youth, we need to do the same for our aging citizens. 

The North Carolina Senior Tarheel Legislature (NCSTHL) has been around since 1993, and it has been an active, productive, nonpartisan force in its advocacy for programs and legislation that improve the lives of our Senior Citizens.  

Currently, Pat Coley serves as the delegate for Watauga County and has held that position since 2006.  Her sidekick and alternate delegate is Mary E. Moretz.  They recently returned from a state conference held in Chapel Hill.

The NCSTHL, composed of delegates and alternates from the counties, meets three times a year, in addition to their regional meetings, to consider the most pressing issues facing older adults. Delegates submitted 67 carefully researched resolutions, winnowed down to 15 and then to the final 5.

We narrow it down to the 5 that will have the greatest impact on the lives of seniors and not overwhelm our legislators to whom they are presented when we visit Raleigh in the spring.   

The goals of the 5 that we selected for advocacy are as follows:

  1. Increase funding for Adult Protective Services for the growing number of older adults who are abused, neglected, and exploited.
  2. Increase the financial support for the state’s expanding 169 senior centers.
  3. Adequately fund the state’s Home and Community Care Block Grant in order to serve the many waitlisted malnourished, homebound, dependent, and economically needy seniors.   
  4. Expand the number of regional long-term care ombudsmen who advocate for residents in assisted living and nursing homes.
  5. Establish minimum standards for staff-to-patient ratios in long-term care facilities.

For additional information, please go to our webpage www.ncseniortarheellegislature.org. or contact High Country Council of Government at 828-265-5434.

Yours truly,

Mary E. Moretz

Watauga County NCSTHL Alternate Delegate