Experts project that by 2025, 9 out of 10 counties in North Carolina will have more people over the age of 60 than under 18. In Mecklenburg County, seniors are projected to make up 15 percent of the total population by 2030. As Charlotte and the surrounding area experience rapid growth and the demographic shift of an aging population, UNC Charlotte researchers are soon to release findings that will help the community understand the health status and array of programs needed to serve older adults in the community.
Meck60+, a needs assessment survey of 750 adults aged 60 and older and 130 family caregivers, sheds light on the main health challenges, service use patterns, community satisfaction and family caregiving outcomes for Mecklenburg County’s diverse senior population.
Among the survey’s findings:
- 43% of respondents live alone
- 92% of the respondents do not smoke
- 64% have been told by a doctor in the last year they have hypertension
- 45% are very likely to recommend living in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County to older adults
- 43% have a health plan that includes mental health coverage
- 44% of family caregivers are caring for their parents while 42% are providing care to their spouse
- Family caregivers report higher levels of stress, depression, physical and emotional trouble than non-caregivers
A public forum scheduled for September 18th from 9:00AM – 11:30PM at the Kearney Solarium, 220 N Tryon St. will provide an opportunity for attendees to offer their input on priorities for serving older adults. Lead researcher Julian Montoro-Rodriguez will outline further findings from Meck60+, including:
- Levels of diabetes, cancer, depression, and cardiological issues
- Exercise frequency
- Economic status
- Racial and ethnic differences in health and use of services
The survey was conducted by researchers from the UNC Charlotte Gerontology program and funded by Southminster, a non-profit retirement community, and UNC Charlotte.