The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is hosting a live “fireside chat and tele-town hall” on Thursday, Oct. 5, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. that’s meant to relay how “aging adults” in the state, can support their health and access the care they need.

While technically every adult in North Carolina is “aging,” state officials are just saying nicely that it will focus on older people.

The presenters on the list should have some good information for attendees.  The list includes Joyce Massey-Smith, the director of the Division of Aging and Adult Services for NCDHHS; Dennis Streets, co-chair of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine Task Force on Healthy Aging; and Nathan Boucher, associate professor of Geriatric Medicine and Nursing at Duke University.

According to state statistics, one in five North Carolinians will soon be over the  age of 65 – which means there will be more older adults than children in the state for the first time ever.

NCHHHS officials say that the health needs of older North Carolinians are often overlooked.

That’s especially true, they say, of the elderly living in rural communities – something that will be specifically addressed during the online town hall.  Those who grow old in rural areas often face challenges finding the care that meets certain specific health needs, including mental health support. However, local and state resources are available to support the nearly 5 million residents living in rural areas.

According to state health stats, almost 80 percent of adults 60 years of age and older have two or more chronic conditions, which is why it’s particularly important for older adults to have regular health visits with their doctors and get proper care early.   The risks of complications from respiratory viruses, health officials warn are higher among people 65 and older – especially those with chronic conditions.

Town hall panelists will discuss the following:

• How to navigate aging in rural communities

• The importance of routine health visits and care

• Mental health services and support available for older adults

• Resources to support aging adults and caregivers in North Carolina

The fireside chat will stream live from the NCDHHS Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts, where viewers will be able to submit questions.

The event also includes a tele-town hall, which invites people to listen in by phone and submit questions. People can dial into the event by calling 855-756-7520 Ext. 95264#.