Friday, March 8, 2019

Division of Aging and Adult Services Presents Awards for Work with Older, Vulnerable Adults

Mar 8, 2019

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services agency that promotes independence and dignity for North Carolina’s older citizens, recently recognized the extraordinary works of an individual, a local government agency and a stakeholder’s group for their ongoing work to meet the needs of North Carolina’s older citizens.

The Division of Aging and Adult Services has presented recognition awards for more than 25 years to affirm the contributions that mark significant achievements in North Carolina’s efforts to improve services to older adults.

“This year’s winners have continued our commitment to improving the lives of older adults and adults with disabilities,” said DAAS Director Joyce Massey-Smith. “These awards highlight some of the individuals and organizations who’ve created opportunities for older adults and improved the lives of those who are most vulnerable.”

The George L. Maddox Award, presented each year to individuals, organizations or communities that have excelled in meeting the needs of older citizens in the state, was presented to Nimish G. Bhatt, founder and executive director of the Universal Institute for Successful Aging of the Carolinas. Bhatt was cited for his work at the Charlotte-based nonprofit that focused on the health and wellness of Asian seniors and for providing access to health care, nutrition, transportation and affordable housing. Bhatt also works with local medical practices to integrate holistic measures that improve the health and wellness of seniors in the community.

The Chatham County Council on Aging, a nonprofit that has served seniors and their families since 1974, received the 2018 Ernest B. Messer Award. The award recognizes individual communities for services provided to their aging populations. The council developed partnerships with local organizations, county offices and community groups to create the Chatham County Collaborative for At-Risk Adults and the Chatham Health Alliance, both of which are new resources for Chatham high-risk cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of at-risk adults. The alliance focuses on health, mental health access and obesity, and it has developed partnerships with universities and community colleges in the area.

The Rethinking Guardianship Statewide Stakeholders Group received the 2018 Dorothy R. Crawford Award, which recognizes an individual or organization that has developed innovative strategies related to, or having a significant impact on, the lives of older adults through Adult Protective Services or guardianship. The group was cited for its work to ensure that the rights of individuals with disabilities are equal under the law to those without disabilities. The group operates with a standard of core concepts and principles that includes autonomy, liberty, dignity, presumption of competence and right to lifetime decision making support for individuals under guardianship or less restrictive alternatives.

For more information about the Division of Aging and Adult Services go to

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