Stay Active with NCRGEA in 2024

By Deryl Davis Fulmer, PhD
NCRGEA Community Liaison

logos of community outreach for NCRGEA

Over the past year, it has been our pleasure to offer opportunities for members to engage and stay active with NCRGEA. As we move into a new year, we want to take time to recap 2023 and encourage continued engagement in 2024.

In 2023, NCRGEA launched new activities and broke new ground with our outreach efforts while maintaining personal service. I often hear from the office that “the phones are hopping.” Our amazing staff, Margaret Burrell and Cathy Spruill, stay busy each day answering the phones. I heard through the grapevine that they and all others in the office answer hundreds of calls each day and thousands every year. The greatest compliment we often receive is, “I can’t believe I got a live person on the line, and you all helped me!” Thanks, Margaret, Cathy, and the staff at NCRGEA!

In addition, Outreach Coordinator Josephine Lanier, has been traveling across the state, meeting with small groups at our Local Community Outreach Meetings. While there, she explains our benefits and gives a brief legislative update. Check out the “Upcoming Events” list to see when she will be in your area.

In 2023, we added a tool called FastDemocracy, which aids us in our advocacy efforts to key leaders. Last May and June, with our initial use of FastDemocracy, we may have influenced the General Assembly in passing a bigger bonus than the 1% bonus initially proposed. Members sent more than 6,000 letters to their state representatives and senators, resulting in a 4% bonus. When you receive these requests, please use this tool—instructions come with our requests, making it easy to participate.

Our Community Advisory Boards (CABs) are up and running in each of the nine districts. COVID actually helped us to understand the needs of our membership better, as we were challenged to find new ways to engage our membership. We went to cyberspace and quickly learned how to use Zoom, Facebook, and X (formerly Twitter). We found that many of you were learning those modalities simultaneously with us. At
the same time, we stepped up our website presence to improve engagement.

Currently, we seek chairs/co-chairs for each of the CABs. Some of you have already accepted the challenge, and we are grateful! We would like to have more of you involved so we can begin hosting fun and informative activities across the state. Please consider joining your CAB and give input for planning activities and other ideas to help retirees remain active and engaged. Your voices help us enhance and maintain retiree benefits.

Last June, we launched the virtual Lunch and Learn webinar series. These programs occur monthly on Wednesdays from 12:30–1:30 p.m. Hundreds of you have enjoyed and benefited from such offerings as Aging Un-Lonely, Social Security Updates, Estate Planning, Long-Term Care, Getting Ready for Aetna and AMBA Benefits and How to Access the Passport Discounts. Tune in and invite your friends to these informative sessions. Membership is not a requirement to participate. Watch your email and website announcements for info on upcoming sessions.

We also joined two major efforts this year as 200 NCRGEA members participated in the March for Meals Champion Week for Meals on Wheels. We plan to join this effort again on March 18–22. Please watch for the notices as we get closer to March.

On Oct. 7, several staff and family members joined the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Raleigh. It was an amazing walk to raise funds for the research and services needed to address this growing issue. Please consider joining such efforts in your respective communities, and if you have, we will feature you in our “Active and Engaged” Facebook posts.

By 2031, the age 65 and older population in North Carolina will be larger than our 18 and under citizens. NCRGEA recognizes that efforts to reimagine aging are paramount for our future. By making you aware of the services and activities you can join efforts in, we hope that we can contribute a small part to healthy aging and your joy in retirement.

Throughout 2023, I featured several agencies and opportunities for volunteerism. I also included the Hometown Strong initiative through Governor Cooper’s office for those interested in part time employment. If interested, please take advantage of these opportunities to stay active and engaged.

Finally, NCRGEA has joined forces with “All Ages, All Stages, A Roadmap for Aging and Living Well,” the governor’s initiative to make North Carolina an aging-friendly state. The initiative aims to ensure that programs and services are addressed to help everyone age in place and the best environment possible. If you are interested in your voice being heard regarding housing, homelessness, food security, social connectedness, transportation accessibility, broadband accessibility, and community safety and protection pertaining to aging in North Carolina, please get in touch with me. We welcome your voices and input in our mission to help you become active and engaged.

As always, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at