How Well Is Gaston County Aging?

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Projected Growth

No doubt about it, Gaston County is getting older. According to data provided by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, during 2014 there were 43,948 older adults (ages 60 and older) living in Gaston County – 21% of the total population. By the year 2034, Gaston County will have about 64,271 older adults – 27% of the population. This growth represents a 46% increase from 2014 – 2034. In fact, 2018 projections show that the older adult population will be larger than our population of children (ages 0-17).

Quality of Life

Currently, more of Gaston County’s older adults live below the Federal poverty threshold and experience higher death rates (related to cancer, smoking, obesity/overweight, and diabetes) compared to the state average. Older adults tend to have more chronic disease, which can lead to physical and mental limitations, as well as a dependence on others. These individuals have less ability to maintain their homes, get medical care, and access transportation. These factors can result in an increased dependency on community services, which, due to less funding and increased costs of delivering services, are already stressed by the current demand.

Planning for the Future

Based on this projected population growth, it is essential that our community review our current system of older adult services and address ways to improve this system in order to sustain the health and quality of life of older adults. The Gaston County Aging Task Force is an informal network of local organizations that was formed in 2015. The purpose of the Aging Task Force is to develop strategies that utilize creative ideas, leveraged resources, and public and private partnerships, to ensure Gaston County is prepared to meet the diverse needs of our residents.

Take the Aging Survey!

During September, the task force will be conducting an Aging Survey throughout the county. The Aging Survey will help to document existing services for seniors, and identify gaps that currently exist. This will be an opportunity for us to educate older adults and their caregivers on the services currently available in Gaston County and for them to let us know what their needs are and how we can better address them. Once the survey data has been analyzed, the task force will develop strategies to respond to gaps in awareness on the part of the public regarding services available and in the services themselves. This is an individual survey designed to be completed by older adults and their caregivers. The Aging Survey is available online (click here for online survey) or as a form you fill out by hand.

Learn More About the Aging Survey

For more information about the Aging Task Force or the Aging Survey, contact: Ruth Murphy at 704.862.7667 or ruth.murphy@gastongov.com.