Resources for Aging Assistance
If you’re facing issues related to aging or caregiving and need advice or assistance, help is available through a variety of regional professional resources. Councils on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, veterans affairs agencies, the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services and the South Carolina Department on Aging, geriatric care managers and other resources can all provide helpful information and services.
Councils on Aging and County Resources
Depending on where you live in Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina, the Council on Aging or Area Agency on Aging serving the county you live in may offer different services from those in other parts of the region, but they all share the common mission of acting as advocates for elders and providing connections for the assistance you need.
Council on Aging of Buncombe County
The Council on Aging of Buncombe County is an advocate for older adults, providing personal support, assistance and resource coordination to help them stay independent and healthy. To help older adults receive the services they need, COABC answers questions by phone and helps people complete applications for community-wide services.
COABC helps with such issues as minor home repair, transportation resources, elder justice counseling and some homebound food delivery. Minor home repair services focus on reducing fall risks in the home through the installation of grab bars, hand railings and threshold fixes.
COABC partners with a variety of local agencies and connects clients with other assistance in the community, such as help with ramp installations.
For people who can’t drive or use public transportation, COABC has volunteers who take people to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and occasional social trips. The Senior Dining and Wellness program offers eligible adults the opportunity to receive free hot meals. Monthly food boxes are delivered by volunteers with COABC to at-risk, homebound elders.
Through its Benefits Enrollment Center, COABC provides application assistance for individuals living in Buncombe County who are on Medicare due to disability or age. COABC provides these individuals with assistance with applications for SNAP, Medicaid, Extra Help and Medicare Savings Programs.
COABC assists with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program, a federally funded program that helps qualified individuals with their home heating and cooling costs.
The COABC also has an Elder Justice Navigator who provides information and support for older women and men experiencing abuse, neglect and exploitation. A separate organization – Meals On Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County – delivers Meals on Wheels in Buncombe County.
Council on Aging for Henderson County
For more than 50 years, the Council on Aging for Henderson County has been providing and coordinating services that engage, connect and support local adults as they age. COAHC strives to ensure that no one ages alone through programs that include Meals on Wheels (delivery of meals to homebound seniors), congregate dining and activities, liquid nutrition, caregiver services, senior companions and community resource coordination. The Council on Aging also offers seasonal services including a heat-relief assistance program and shelf-stable meals for inclement weather.
Caregiver support specialists are available at COAHC to assist those caring for a loved one with long-term physical or cognitive conditions. The caregiver specialist can assist with accessing available resources and provide ongoing support. Those qualifying for respite care services may be able to receive a grant to assist with covering the costs of in-home services.
COAHC also offers support, advice and guidance related to aging, housing assistance, medical appointments, assisted living options and more.
Polk County Senior Services
As part of Polk County’s consolidated human services department, Polk County Senior Services offers drive-thru meal pick-up, Meals on Wheels, educational opportunities, health and wellness promotion and recreational activities.
Transylvania County Council on Aging
Transylvania County has a Council on Aging as part of its Social Services department. Its adult services programs offer support to elderly and disabled adults, provide protective services to vulnerable adults and regulate certain residential services.
In Transylvania County, Meals on Wheels of Brevard provides delivered meals to people who are at least 60 years old, homebound and unable to shop or cook. Services are available temporarily for those recovering from illness or injury.
Area Agencies on Aging
The Land of Sky Regional Council’s Area Agency on Aging covers Buncombe, Henderson, Madison and Transylvania Counties.
The Foothills Regional Commission serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Polk and Rutherford Counties, in addition to Cleveland and McDowell.
The Southwestern Commission Area Agency on Aging covers Haywood County, as well as Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain Counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The High Country Area on Aging serves Yancey County in addition to Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga and Wilkes Counties.
In South Carolina, the Appalachian Council of Governments serves as the Area Agency on Aging for Spartanburg County as well as Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee and Pickens Counties.
All of these Area Agencies on Aging are part of a national network of aging agencies established by the federal Older Americans Act. While local Councils on Aging provide direct services, Area Agencies on Aging support older adults living independently through planning, resource development and partnering with Councils on Aging and other organizations.
In addition to being resources for older adults and their caregivers to contact when seeking information about age-related issues, offerings from Area Agencies on Aging can include family caregiver support services, foster grandparent programs, health promotion and disease prevention, long-term care ombudsmen, regional and county aging planning, senior community services employment programs, senior companion programs, information about legislation and resources for people caring for people with dementia.
Based in Asheville, the Charles George VA Medical Center provides healthcare and wellness services to US military veterans and their families. In addition to serving veterans’ overall health, the VA Medical Center offers assistance related to geriatrics including extended care rehabilitation, psychogeriatric care, general nursing home care, and caregiver support. The VA Medical Center also has a community-based outpatient clinic in Rutherford County.
The North Carolina Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs provides a system to assist veterans and their families with a variety of issues. The state agency also oversees four skilled care homes for veterans, including one in Black Mountain in Buncombe County.
Through this state agency, Veterans Service Offices also have been established throughout the state for veterans and their families to receive assistance with benefits, claims questions and other issues.
The Veterans Administration operates medical clinics for veterans in Upstate South Carolina, including in Spartanburg and Greenville. The South Carolina Dept. of Veterans Affairs offers a variety of resources related to claims assistance, health care, mental health, consumer affairs, military service member and family programs and more. Each county has a veterans affairs office. South Carolina also has three state veterans nursing homes.
Through its Division of Aging and Adult Services, the North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services works to promote independence and enhance the dignity of North Carolina's older adults. This state agency includes an Adult Protective Services Division, the work of which is carried out by county Dept. of Social Services (DSS) offices. In South Carolina, the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program, the Vulnerable Adults Investigation Unit of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the Adult Protective Services Program of the Dept. of Social Services investigate allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation. If you are concerned that an older adult is suffering from abuse, neglect or exploitation, contact your local DSS office. DSS workers can evaluate and help determine if an elderly individual is in need of assistance or protective services.
- Council on Aging of Buncombe County
COABC.org | 828-277-8288
- Council on Aging for Henderson County
COAHC.org | 828-692-4203
- Foothills Regional Commission on Aging
Cleveland, McDowell, Polk and Rutherford Counties
RegioNC.org/Area-Agency-on-Aging | 828-287-2281
- Haywood County Meals on Wheels
MOWHaywoodNC.org | 828-356-2442
- Haywood County Senior Resource Center
HaywoodSeniors.org | 828-356-2800
- High Country Council on Aging
Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties
HighCountryAging.org | 828-265-5434 or 866-219-3643 (toll-free)
- Land of Sky Regional Council
LandofSky.org/AAA.html | 828-251-6622 and 800-727-0557
- Madison County Community Services
MadisonCountyNC.gov/Nutrition-Sites.html | 828-649-2722
- Meals On Wheels of Asheville and Buncombe County
MOWABC.org | 828-253-5286
- Meals on Wheels of Brevard
MealsonWheelsBrevard.org | 828-883-3743
- North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
NCDHHS.gov/Divisions/Aging-and-Adult-Services or call 919-855-3400
Polk County Senior Services
PolkNC.org/The_Meeting_Place_Senior_Center.php | 828-894-0001
Rutherford County Senior Center
RutherfordCountyNC.gov/Departments/Senior_Center/index.php | 828-287-6409
Transylvania County Council on Aging
TransylvaniaCounty.org/Departments/Social-Services | 828-884-3174
- Yancey County Senior Center
Main.NC.US/Yancey/ycsc.htm | 828-682-6011
- Appalachian Council of Governments
SCACOG.org/Aging-Services | 864-242-9733 or 800-434-4036 (toll-free)
- Mobile Meals
Mobile-Meals.org | 864-573-7684
- South Carolina Dept. on Aging
Aging.SC.gov and GetCareSC.com | 803-734-9900 or 800-868-9095 (toll-free)
- South Carolina Dept. of Social Services
DSS.SC.gov/Adult-Protection | 888-CARE4US or 888-227-3487 (toll-free)
- North Carolina Dept. of Veteran and Military Affairs
Milvets.NC.gov | 844-624-8387 (toll-free)
- South Carolina Dept. of Veterans Affairs
SCDVA.SC.gov | 803-734-0200