Friday, May 24, 2024
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TennCare Developing Multi-Sector Plan For Aging Region

TennCare is developing a multi-sector plan for aging to address the needs of older people, disabled people, and family caregivers.

TennCare Aging Commission Liaison Anna Lea Cothron said by 2030, the Upper Cumberland will be one of the oldest regions in the state. She said data has been collected regarding what aging initiatives already exist and where there is room to expand those initiatives. Cothron said improvement in healthcare, caregiving, employment, and security are among the plan’s major goals.

“You guys in upper Cumberland are way ahead of the game on this,” Cothron said. “And we’ve taken a lot of the information that you all have implemented and have been successful, and really tried to put it into the plan to help show other local communities how they could help support older adults.”

Cothron said she hopes to have the plan finalized and presented to the Governor’s Office by this fall. She said from there, implementation will be handled by the state’s new Department of Disability and Aging Services. UCHRA Executive Director Mark Farley said he hopes to see the plan help keep people in their homes longer, rather than in long-term care facilities.

“The number-one issue, probably, that we’re dealing with right now is being able to find providers of in-care services,” Farley said.

He said the lack of in-home caregivers in the region causes family members and neighbors to take on that responsibility for loved ones and friends, complicating their lives and their ability to work. Farley said the Upper Cumberland faces unique needs when it comes to care for the older population, given that Cumberland County is one of the few counties that actively recruit senior citizens. He said he wants to see the resources for the elderly in Cumberland County expand across the rest of the Upper Cumberland.

“We incorporate into policies and decisions, how to take into effect, the effect on the senior population,” Farley said. “So, having the ability to have more developments, more residential, that type of thing is where that comes into play.”

Cothron said over the coming months, TennCare will continue to collect data from stakeholders in the area about the work being done to help the quality of life for people 65 years and older. She said they would survey communities for ideas that could improve the senior experience in the Upper Cumberland and across the state before putting together a final plan.

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