South Charlotte

Church lunch to address issues on aging

Debi Lee

At an upcoming luncheon, South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church will try to help older Charlotteans and retirees find the answers to some less-than-spiritual questions.

At 11a.m. Feb.26, the church’s JOY Social Group wants to help members of the “Just Older Youth” set find answers to questions including: Where am I going to live? How am I going to pay? and how much monetary assistance can I expect from Medicare, long-term care policies or retirement investments?

To help tackle these issues, the group has invited Debi Lee, assistant director for programs on aging at the Centralina Area Agency on Aging, to be the guest speaker at a luncheon. Lee has been with Centralina for the past 23 years and has been an influential advocate for the rights of older and disabled adults in her role as elder rights coordinator and lead ombudsman.

Lee has a master’s degree in gerontology and a bachelor’s in sociology with a social work concentration from UNC Charlotte. Throughout her career, she has been a frequent speaker at national, state, local and community events regarding the planning, promotion and protection of consumer services and support from home to hospital.

A native Charlottean, Lee grew up taking care of her mother and grandmother, who suffered from lupus, and learned firsthand the challenges of navigating the Charlotte region’s health-care system.

Mary Anne Thacker, a member of South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church for seven years and program director and chairwoman of the JOY Social Group, has facilitated senior groups in other churches in the Charlotte area.

“With the abundance of senior-living options in the south Charlotte area, how can we make informed decisions about senior care,” Thacker asked recently. “What if we want to stay in our own homes? What if one spouse needs more care than the other? What if our children want to make choices for us?”

“We hope to attract the wider community and to provide a daytime event for older adults who don’t go out at night,” Thacker said. “We hope to help the older adults of south Charlotte, as well as family members who may be ready to have a discussion with their parents on this issue.”

Lee will present her information and then answer questions.

During lunch, Thacker also plans to have Jane Kusterer, a senior real estate specialist with Alan Tate SouthPark, available to answer questions on selling property and reverse mortgages.

June K. Noe is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for June? Email her at

Want to go?

The JOY Social Group luncheon at South Mecklenburg Presbyterian Church will be 11a.m. Feb.26 in the Mecklenburg Hall. The program will be preceded by a social at 10:30a.m. and followed by lunch at noon. The cost for lunch is $12. The church is at 8601 Bryant Farms Road.

▪ Details: 704-544-0404.

▪ Reservations: by noon Feb.23.