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Governor-Elect Promises Summit on Aging

If you need resources or services to help care for an aging loved one, do you know where to go?

In Tennessee, there’s not one place to get the answers you need, so you may end up wandering from agency to agency, getting frustrated and confused along the way. According to a report issued in 2010, more than 100 programs for seniors are spread among 23 state agencies.

With the tidal wave of baby boomers about to hit Medicare age and begin needing some of those services, Tennessee should have a more efficient system in place.

That’s why AARP and other stakeholders have called on Governor-Elect Bill Haslam to hold a “summit on aging” within the first six months of his administration.

And he has agreed to do so.

Haslam told about 100 people gathered at a forum in Nashville shortly before the election that he would indeed bring stakeholders and state government agencies together in hopes of finding creative ways to fix our dysfunctional system.

“The percentage of the population over the age of 65 is going to increase astronomically between 2010 and 2030,” Haslam said at the forum sponsored by AARP, FiftyForward and the Council on Aging of Greater Nashville. Right now, one in five Tennesseans is age 60 or older. By 2030, that is expected to increase to nearly one quarter of all residents.

 “The answer to the offer is yes. We will do that. And I love the approach. In there is the understanding that we have increasing demands and we’re always going to be dealing with restricted monies, so we have to work smarter. And we work smarter by having better information exchanges and making it easier for the customer,” he said.

Haslam, who helped run the family business of Pilot Corp., said he looks at Tennessee’s citizens as the government’s customers, who need to be treated well or they’ll move to another state.

“We have to be the kind of place where people choose. So to make it easier to deal with myriads of state agencies, I think is one of our foremost obligations. That’s what we owe,” he said. “And I would love the advice and input of people in the middle of that.”

To see and hear for yourself what Haslam has to say about this and other issues, go to AARP Tennessee’s YouTube channel.

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