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Solo Agers

Solo Agers event with Nancy Ruffner, owner of Navigate NC.

Navigating later life is full of challenges and opportunities…and so it is with solo agers. Solo Agers are older adults that are making decisions about their future independently. People who are not married/partnered and don’t have children find themselves uniquely situated in a world where many legal and social conventions favor more traditional notions of “family”. PiAP has gathered a group of seven community members, most of whom identify as solo agers, to explore the unique legal, health, financial, and social issues of living life while flying solo. We want to know how many people in our area consider themselves to be solo agers. We are examining what leaving a legacy means when assets aren’t passed down to family. We are talking about the importance of nurturing relationships and creating families of choice. Our goal is to offer community events to bring solo agers together to learn from “experts” and from each other. We are in the early phases of this initiative, and we’re excited about what’s to come. Click here to read more 

Linking Generations in Northside (LINK) and the Northside Residential Fellowship (NRF)

The Linking Generations in Northside Program, or LINK, is a collaboration between the Marian Cheek Jackson Center and PiAP.  It serves to connect UNC students from various disciplines with older residents in the Northside community. Students form teams to visit residents’ homes where they can share, learn, and grow together in a mutual partnership of social support. The Jackson Center and PiAP provide mentorship to facilitate visits. For more details click here.

The Northside Residential Fellowship (NRF) program functions in partnership with The LINK program. The NRF program creates a living-learning household focused on aging and health equity. Northside residents and UNC graduate students are charged to learn from each other and become good neighbors in the process.  Research demonstrates the important role social connections play in the health and well-being of individuals. We aspire to create a space for graduate students to become active members of the Northside community and establish a multi-generational neighborhood where all residents feel supported. Read the NRF Program Overview 22-23 to learn more.

UNC Students speak with Northside Residents during LINK
Northside fellows recently hosted their first “Porch Revival Tour Pop-Up.”

Aging in Community: The Story of Crescent Magnolia

Eight graduate students in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UNC-Chapel Hill will partner with PiAP and Habitat for Humanity of Orange County to document the process of building the Crescent Magnolia community. Crescent Magnolia is a community developed by Habitat that offers affordable homeownership options for adults 60 and older.  It is the first initiative of its kind by Habitat in the United States and consists of 24 small-scale attached homes embedded in the edge of an existing neighborhood in Hillsborough NC.  In order to understand the impact of Crescent Magnolia in the lives of the residents as well as on the surrounding community, students will explore processes of community building, transitioning into new homes, and developing a neighborhood.   In particular, the students will explore various aspects of the built environment and the interaction between the physical structures, which have been designed with aging-in-place principles, and the older adults who buy them. In addition, they will explore the everyday occupations of the residents and how they are shaped by a new environment, as well as the impact of the community on the surrounding neighborhood and partners in the project. The ultimate targeted outcome of the project is the development and dissemination of a resource toolkit for other affordable housing providers who might consider similar senior housing solutions. A resource manual for housing providers to foster the development of senior
housing in an affordable homeownership model was recently published. CRESCENT MAGNOLIA RESOURCE REPORT 2021. To learn more, visit the OC Habitat for Humanity site.

Crescent Magnolia Design and Location

FEAST: Folks of Every Age Sharing a Table

Currently on hold due to COVID-19

FEAST is an initiative of UNC’s Partnerships in Aging Program. We are creating an intentional space where people of different generations can learn from one another and cultivate age-embracing perspectives.  Each month, dinner party guests include UNC students from different disciplines, faculty, older adult volunteers, and community leaders in aging. FEAST believes in the power of intergenerational connections and the joyful wisdom that comes from sharing a table.

On the evening of April 25, 2018, eight men and women, ranging in age from 22 all the way up to 87 years old attended the inaugural FEAST dinner party.

Orange County Master Aging Plan

Orange County Department on Aging is completing the implementation of its 2017-2022 Master Aging Plan (MAP) and begun planning for the 2022-2027 MAP. The Partnerships in Aging program is providing consultation and technical assistance to this initiative.  The cornerstone of the Master Aging Plan is broad-based citizen input.  During public meetings held in July and August 2016, at 13 locations around the County, we heard from over 60 people. An electronic survey was distributed to people of all ages throughout the County, and Janice Tyler, Director of the Department on Aging, conducted multiple interviews with County leaders and stakeholders.

To advance the Master Aging Plan process, Orange County has become the first North Carolina county to join AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly Communities. As such, we are now part of a nation-wide effort to transform our neighborhoods and communities into age-friendly places. Never in modern history have we lived this long. Orange County is already a great place to age, but we can make it even better. We want to continue to develop new models in all areas, including how we live, how we die, and how we connect with each other on a daily basis. Key domains of interest in the Plan include Housing, Transportation, Community Services and Health, Employment, Outdoor Spaces and Buildings, and Communication Pathways.

Pocket neighborhood
An example of an elder-friendly neighborhood equipped with accessible housing and green space.

Interprofessional Education in Geriatrics

Over 235 UNC students from 10 health disciplines (nursing, medicine, social work, dentistry, dental hygienist, pharmacy, PT, OT, nutrition, and speech and language pathology) work in teams to explore complex social and medical issues common to older adults.  Along the way, students learn about each of their classmates’ educational preparation, typical practice environments, and dispel common myths and stereotypes about aging.

Students from different disciplines participating in care planning for an older patient.


Arts Across Ages- Carolina Seminars

The Arts Across Ages seminar series aims to build knowledge, collaborations, and strategies for UNC students and older adults to share arts experiences and make connections to each other through arts. Believing that “Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we–from the local to the global” (Olafur Eliasson, World Economic Forum, 2016) the series is built around older and younger people sharing and creating art across many venues – visual arts, theater, dance, and more. Conducting this seminar series is a joint venture among UNC faculty from diverse disciplines and community leaders in aging. Sue Coppola, UNC Clinical Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy, leads this exciting seminar series.