One of the initiatives of Age-Friendly Buncombe County is the Active Aging Center (AAC):

The Active Aging Center would be rooted in the County’s core values of respect, collaboration, and equity by offering comprehensive, coordinated services and programming for older adults, caregivers, and others in Buncombe County. The Active Aging Center is a

collaborative, integrated service delivery model with a goal to provide a "hub and spoke" model for service delivery older adults, caregivers, and community members to access services and supports to assist all people to “age in community”.

The proposed Active Aging Center (AAC) would address many of the social determinants of health impacting older adults including food insecurity, transportation issues, social isolation, and access to activities for health and wellness, while also providing intergenerational activities such as adult day care services, childcare services, senior center and congregate nutrition. This center will be centrally located and will bridge some of the gaps we saw during the pandemic by serving as a location for testing, vaccinations, food delivery, essential service item pick-ups and more. Project is estimated to be 67,000 square feet of shared mixed-use space.

What have we done so far on the Active Aging Center?

  • May 2019: Community meeting held with aging service professionals
  • June 2019: Steering team members selected and monthly meetings started
  • October/November 2019: Funding sought to hire a consultant to complete a feasibility study and develop a business plan
    • $95,000 was granted by the WNC Bridge Foundation
    • $20,000 was granted by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina
  • December 2019: IBIS Enterprises was contracted to provide consulting services
  • January 2020-January 2021: Lead agencies met monthly with IBIS Enterprises (work included: community interviews, research, concept development, and business planning)
    • 5 similar centers across the state were interviewed: Forsyth, Chatham, Ashe, Orange and Durham
  • May 2021: Final business plan was provided
  • June 2021: Steering committee voted to recommend Buncombe County as owner/operator
  • August 2021: HHS Board voted unanimously to support Buncombe County as lead agency
  • November 2021: HHS Board voted for BC to include the project in the capital plan
  • Sprint 2022: Funding requests sent to City of Asheville and Buncombe County for American Rescue Plan Funds
  • April 2022: AAC Champions group starts and begins outreach with elected officials, community members, etc.

What Will It Take?

  • Coordination across sectors that influence our ability to be safe, well and engaged. The services and offerings in the center would include providing:
    • Socialization opportunities: classes, lectures, clubs, support groups
    • Housing assistance: application assistance, home modification services, aging in place navigation
    • Health and Wellbeing Services: exercise classes, technology education, other programming
    • Economic Supports: insurance and benefits enrollment, financial education, job coaching
    • Clinical Services: medical, behavioral, and mental health services, pharmacy, medication management
    • Nutrition and Food Security: Healthy food sources, food pantry, congregate nutrition
    • Transportation Services to and from the center
    • Integrational opportunities: childcare, adult day care/day health, senior center activities

 Steering Team Members:

  • BC Health and Human Services
  • Mountain Care
  • Council on Aging of Buncombe County
  • Land of Sky Area Agency on Aging
  • YMCA
  • Buncombe County Library Services
  • MAHEC
  • UNC Asheville
  • Community Members
  • City of Asheville Parks and Recreation
  • Verner Child Development

Additional Collaborators and Stakeholders:

These organizations have been involved in some level of planning and/or visioning but are not on the committee:

  • Mountain Mobility
  • Meals on Wheels of Asheville Buncombe
  • Buncombe County Parks and Recreation
  • MANNA Food Bank
  • Habitat for Humanity

Active Aging Center

Question title

What are your thoughts about the Active Aging Center and what feedback do you have regarding this concept?

Older Americans Month Theme for May 2022 was Age My Way:

Question title

What does safely aging-in-place mean to you?

Question title

How can we bring these elements together to serve our residents?