October 31, 2023

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) recently announced the release of 12 actionable recommendations supported by 30 total strategies for improving social connections, falls prevention, food and nutrition security, and mobility among aging North Carolinians. 

Amanda Holliday

Amanda Holliday

Dr. Amy Lanou

Dr. Amy Joy Lanou

These recommendations, presented in a report titled A Place to Thrive: Creating Opportunities to Age Well in North Carolina, were developed by the Task Force on Healthy Aging led by co-chairs Dr. Tamara Baker, professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and Dennis Streets, former director of the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. The task force was composed of more than 60 members from health care, local and state government, faith communities, aging, academia, and other sectors. Members from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health include Amanda Holliday, MS, RD, LDN, associate professor of nutrition, and Amy Joy Lanou, PhD, adjunct professor in the Public Health Leadership Program and professor in the joint Place-Based Health Program at UNC Asheville.

“I enjoyed working with a fantastic multi-disciplinary team to put together this report on Healthy Aging!” Holliday said. “I’m most proud that nutrition is valued and included in this report.”

The members convened between May 2022 and April 2023 to learn from experts and respond to the increasing older adult population in our state, which is expected to grow more than 60% by 2037. “The timing and depth of this report are vital as our state experiences the opportunities and challenges of an aging population,” said Streets. 

The task force also took a careful look at the impact of inequities in healthy aging, as N.C.’s demographics become more diverse as well as growing older. “This is a report that intentionally addresses healthy aging from a variety of perspectives and concerns,” said Deryl Davis Fulmer, PhD, community outreach liaison at the North Carolina Retired Governmental Employees Association. “The recommendations have the potential to greatly impact how health care is administered in N.C. for years to come.” 

There is a particular need, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, to invest in the development of communities and homes that provide a safe environment for healthy aging. 

“The task force’s findings give advocates, policymakers, and providers – as well as older adults and their families – an important roadmap to reducing detriments to healthy aging,” said Lisa Riegel, manager of advocacy and communications at AARP NC. 

Funding for this work was provided by The Duke Endowment, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Aging and Adult Services and Division of Public Health, and AARP NC. To learn more, download the report link here

The North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM) is forward-looking and focused on solutions. The organization was founded in 1983 by the North Carolina General Assembly to serve as a source of non-partisan information and analysis to promote effective health policies focused on improving the health and well-being of all North Carolinians. Learn more at nciom.org.

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