State Official to Address Meeting of Local Aging Advisory Council
The director of the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, Dennis Sheets, has accepted an invitation from the local Aging Advisory Council to address the group at a January meeting.
Ann Robson, president of the Moore County Aging Advisory Council, issued the invitation to Sheets because she believes it is important for the agencies that have a great effect on the local budget to see how the programs they fund are working.
A son of a physician, Dennis Sheets had the seeds of his career planted early. He said that it was during the time he accompanied his father on visits to nursing homes and on house calls to the elderly that he developed an interest in working with older adults. His father's commitment to caring has been carried on throughout his own career.
Sheets has been with the Division of Aging and Adult Services for 15 years. Upon his being appointed director of the division four years ago, Secretary of Health and Human Services Carmen Hooker Odom said, "Dennis has been a chief architect in planning for the future of aging in North Carolina. He has been a leader in preparing for the retirement of the baby boomer generation, and in continuing to further the mission of the division to promote the independence and dignity of our seniors and disabled adults."
Since more than half of the local budget for Moore County's Department of Aging at the Senior Enrichment Center comes from federal and state grants, and these funds are disbursed by Dennis Sheets' agency, Terri Prots, director of the county's Department of Aging staff, welcomes Sheet's appearance in Moore County, calling it a wonderful opportunity.
"He is aware of, and understands, the challenges we face in our unique demographic situation," she says. "The 'graying of America' has already happened in Moore County."
Almost four years ago, the Senior Enrichment Center opened its doors, and more than 600 people flock to the center each week, availing themselves of the wide variety of programs the center offers. The center also serves as the offices for the Department of Aging staff that administers the transportation and in-home aide services, as well as programs including nutrition, family caregiving, fitness facilities and group exercise, Senior Health Insurance Information and RSVP-Retired and Senior Volunteers, among others
Due to the proposed cutbacks in the state and county budgets for 2011, the local Department of Aging and its certified senior center of excellence faces the prospect of cutting services to an increasing numbers of older adults, most of whom are on fixed incomes and a fair percentage of whom are also economically needy.
Robson notes that Sheets will be accompanied by Joan Pelletier of the Triangle J Council on Aging, covering a seven-county area that includes Moore County.
"Joan Pelletier knows us well and is the point person for our block grant money," she says. "Together they will be able to let us know what we may expect to happen in the field of aging in the coming months and years."
The Aging Advisory Council, which Ann Robson heads up, is made up of 15 other members drawn from Moore County. The county commissioners and the county manager have been invited to attend the council's meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. at the Senior Enrichment Center, 8040 U.S. 15-501, two miles north of the Pinehurst Traffic Circle.
The meeting is open to the public, and a question and answer segment is planned.
For additional information, contact the center at (910) 215-0900.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at mhunter104@ yahoo.com.
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