Grand Strand seniors forum to focus on health, environment

Seniors and community leaders are set to discuss and gather information on a number of health and quality of life issues at the “At Risk, the Health of South Carolina Seniors” forum in Myrtle Beach Thursday. The forum is sponsored by the South Carolina Alliance for Retired Americans. Representatives from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, Doctors for America, SC Silver Haired Legislature, League of Women Voters, the Coastal Conservation League, and National Alliance for Retired Americans will attend. Alliance President Julie Harbin says the forum will allow seniors to hear from experts on timely medical and legislative issues affecting the state. Harbin says the forum will focus on information not politics.
“We are emphasizing that this is an educational forum and not a political town hall meeting. We are going to be emphasizing the South Carolina aspects because we feel everybody has probably heard enough and tired of hearing about people’s opinions about what is going on in the national debate. That is important and we will have someone available to answers questions.”
Harbin says a representative of Shared Care, Inc. will discuss health care access for the uninsured.
Harbin says an emphasis on the environment and health concerns will receive emphasis during the 90 minute forum particularly because of the rapid population growth of Horry County which includes a large group of seniors moving to the area. “We want people to know that a lot of seniors are moving to the area and because of that there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed affecting seniors and the entire population of Horry County for  that matter to in order to make sure that South Carolina and Horry County remain healthy places for seniors to live.”
Harbin says seniors are concerned about environmental and conservation issues and they will be able to get valuable information on the issues during the forum. “The South Carolina coastal Conservation League will be there to share information on efforts concerning water conservation. I don’t know if people know it but in South Carolina there are no laws that restrict businesses’ access to water. They can take out as much water as they need and there is a concern regarding the potential for running out of good clean water here in South Carolina.”
Harbin says health, safety and environmental issues go hand-and-hand and the concern, especially in Horry County, is that the infrastructure and health and safety services is not keeping up with the rapid growth of the area. “The roads, the police, the fire department coverage affects all of us, but since we are a seniors organization we are focusing on seniors concerning the contamination ofair and water. For example, we have potentially toxic asphalt plants that are situated and placed right next to residential areas.”