For your health: A veterans benefit, a new program for elders and more

LIVING FREE: CarePartners is furthering its mission to serve the elderly with its new community-based care center, the Program and All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Photo courtesy of CarePartners Photo courtesy of CarePartners

Buncombe ranks in top 15 healthiest N.C. counties

Apparently all the hiking and eating healthy, local foods has paid off. Buncombe County recently ranked 14 in the state for overall health outcomes, according to the annual County Health Rankings Report.  Researched and compiled by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the ranking report recognizes that overall health is affected by income, education, area of residence, access to healthy foods, recreation and medical care, as well as the health behaviors individuals adopt, according to a press release.

While Buncombe County has been ranked within the top 20 counties over the last five years, there is also plenty of room for improvement. Two of the lower-ranking health indicators in Buncombe County are physical environment and children in poverty. The top-performing counties nationally have a child poverty rate closer to 13 percent, while Buncombe has 22 percent.

According to American Health Rankings, a scale that uses similar indicators of health, North Carolina ranks 37 in the nation overall. View the full report at

The American Legion to hold Veteran’s Benefit Action Center in Asheville

The American Legion, Department of North Carolina, Veterans Assistance and Rehabilitation Division will hold a Veterans Benefits Action Center from Wednesday-Friday, April 8-10, for veterans and their dependents that have questions concerning their claims, appeals and healthcare from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Service — that’s what the American Legion is all about,” says W. Frank Stancil, adjutant of organization for the Department of North Carolina. “We exist to help each and every veteran, their families and the communities they live in.”

There will be veterans law advocates, as well as VA representatives to assist with benefits and other health care issues to help grant, expedite and facilitate benefits and health care claims.

The event takes place at 103 Reddick Road in Asheville, Wednesday-Friday, April 8-10, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

CarePartners opens Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly 

CarePartners furthers its mission to serve the elderly with its recent opening of the PACE Center. PACE — the Program and All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly — offers community-based care and services to people ages 55 and older. The program helps those who might otherwise need to move to a skilled nursing facility, allowing more elderly people to live independently. The program began accepting its first applicants in early March.

“CarePartners has been proud to serve Western North Carolina in the areas of rehabilitation, hospice, home health care, adult day care and more; [we] are pleased to expand to be the PACE provider for Buncombe and Henderson counties,” says President and CEO Tracy Buchanan. Nationally, there are 106 PACE programs in 31 states. There are 10 PACE programs active in North Carolina.

“We can provide outpatient clinic care (like you would receive at your own doctor’s office), labs, medication administration for those who need it, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, activities and social events, meals, dietitian consultation, pharmacy consultation, and social work/care management,” says primary care provider and medical director Dr. Amy Cohen.

National Alliance on Mental Illness offers free class for families

“Despite gains in treatment and opportunities for recovery, people may encounter difficulties in caring for a relative or friend with mental illness. To address this critical need, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has developed an education program of facts and support that many describe as ‘life-changing,’” according to NAMI WNC.

Designed for families and caregivers of individuals living with severe mental illness, NAMI Family-to-Family addresses the clinical treatment of these disorders and teaches the skills that families need to cope more effectively. Participants receive up-to-date facts about major mental disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and co-occurring brain and addictive disorders.

NAMI Western Carolina, with support from Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, will sponsor the free, 12-session NAMI Family-to-Family weekly at 6-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from April 7 through May 14 in Asheville.

For more information email or call 989-2365 or 505-0027.

About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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