June 1, 2022
Amanda S. Holiday, MS, RD, LDN, is working to address elder food insecurity in North Carolina.
An associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC-Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, Holliday also serves on a Task Force on Healthy Aging. Launched by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (NCIOM), the group focuses on policies and practices that support aging in place in N.C. communities.
With the increasing older adult population in the state, this task force will specifically identify recommendations related to social connections, nutrition, mobility and preventing falls. More than 60 task force members are engaged as experts in topics related to aging in place, and they will work with leaders in faith communities, local and state government, academia, health care and other sectors.
“By 2030, there will be more older people in this country than there are kids in school,” Holliday explains. “We will see the rates of adults over the age of 65 grow, with the age group of 80-85 growing the most.”
She wants her students to become empathetic caregivers to this older population, but it’s often hard for young people to comprehend the physical and mental effects of aging. To help her students understand what it feels like to be an older adult, or to have dementia, Holliday regularly organizes a hands-on activity called the Dementia Tour.
“I hope to bring knowledge about elder food insecurity across North Carolina — and my experience and passion — to educate future nutrition practitioners who will work in older adult health and nutrition,” Holliday adds. “The outcomes of this task force will help politicians and community members set goals to help reduce elder hunger across the 100 counties of North Carolina.”
The first task force meeting was convened on May 10 and featured robust discussions (PDF) of the current opportunities, challenges and potential for improvements. The work is supported with funding from The Duke Endowment, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, and AARP North Carolina.
“We are excited to partner with leading experts in aging, public health and community services to identify the necessary strategies for healthy aging in North Carolina,” says Kathy Colville, NCIOM president and CEO. “We are confident that this task force will help strengthen our state and local systems and services to provide healthy, supported aging in our state.”
Ten task force meetings will take place through December 2022; all are open to the public. A final report will be published in early 2023 with actionable recommendations to inform policies to support healthy aging.
Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.