The U.S. population 65 and older is now the largest in terms of size and percent of the population according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately 1.3 million people 65 and older (3.1% of the entire U.S. population) live in skilled-nursing facilities. Here in Alamance County, we are currently at 161,586 in population. Of that 17.27%, or 27,904 people are above the age of 65. For those over 65, the normal process of aging may bring conditions that affect access to library services and programs. For example, many of the elderly find that transportation is one of their critical concerns. It is crucial that members of our community that are elderly or home-bound be assured of equal opportunity of access to the widest range of information and resources possible. Here in Alamance County, we provide one of the most vibrant and robust Outreach Services in the state of North Carolina to our residents.
From January 2017 to December 2017, our Outreach Services department reached 165 members of our community that are elderly or home-bound. The same 165 people that are our neighbors, family members, or loved ones received 12,400 materials and resources delivered to their place of residence. Twenty-one volunteers throughout the year make the trek out to these residences all across the county delivering to over 55 places each month. That is 685 visits to private homes, retirement centers, rehabilitation facilities and group homes.
Every May, the Administration on Aging leads our nation’s observance of Older American’s Month. This year the theme Engage at Every Age emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich physical, mental or emotional well-being. This initiative also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities. One way you can be a part of someone’s life is to volunteer here at the Alamance County Public Libraries and help us deliver materials and resources to those in need. Please contact myself or the Outreach Services Coordinator, Wendy Burgess (firstname.lastname@example.org), to volunteer. Another way to contribute is if you know of someone that needs services. Let us know and we can reach out to help someone that may be home-bound but would love to read, listen to a book, music, or watch a DVD.
Life expectancy has improved considerably during the past couple of decades, and an increasing amount of people are looking forward to twenty or more years of life after retirement. I certainly know that I look forward to a full and fulfilling life after retirement. It has also been proven that in addition to having a healthy lifestyle, it is just as important to have a healthy mental and social lifestyle. The importance of all three counts (Mind, Body, Spirit) only increases the older we get as a society. Join Alamance County in supporting our older members of the community by lending a helping hand through our Outreach Services and meet these amazing, smart, interesting, loving and needing individuals.
Happy May everyone!
Jason M. Rogers
Alamance County Public Libraries
342 S. Spring St.
Burlington, NC 27215