Recent state report detailing new data on Tennessee’s aging population predicts an increase of 300,000 in the state’s aging population over the next 10 years.
UCDD Family Caregiver Coordinator Clare Farless said that indicates a need to provide more resources and make communities aging-friendly.
“I don’t think it’s going to be just specifically the aging network it’s going to be a community-wide effort to accomplish that,” Farless said. “The million dollar question is, ‘How are we going to be able to find people to go into these homes and provide these services.'”
Farless said in her 10 years with the UCDD, she has seen them go from having an excess of caretakers available to a shortage. She said there is a need to remarket those positions as ones sought after, not a “dirty job.”
Farless said the Upper Cumberland in particular is expected to have a large growth in its aging population. She said out of five counties listed in the report for its expected growth, four are in the Upper Cumberland: Clay, Cumberland, Pickett, and Jackson Counties.
“I just find that fascinating because when I think of Jackson County we don’t even have a hospital we have a walk-in clinic at best,” Farless said. “So seeing that their population growth is going to be in that area, just makes me concerned if our system can support that growth that is coming in and how can we prepare for that growth.”