All year long, the Council on Aging (COA) of Middle Tennessee serves older adults, caregivers and communities by addressing unmet needs through information, advocacy and education. The older population is growing rapidly as 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, and by 2030, 11 of 13 counties in Middle Tennessee will experience 50 percent or more growth in their senior adult population.
“With the rapid growth of our older population in Middle Tennessee, there’s an increasing need to honor and support older adults and caregivers in our community,” said Grace Smith, COA’s executive director. “We understand that finding answers can be confusing and overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. COA strives to be a trusted ‘go to’ hub, providing resource guides, educational programs and information and referral services by phone, in person and online.”
COA’s focus is assisting grandparents raising grandchildren, a growing trend due to the opioid crisis and addiction. To help grandparents navigate this role, COA provides a much-needed resource guide: Empowering Grandparents: A Guide for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. COA is seeking funds to update and reprint this unique guidebook and to create an online e-book. To ensure more grandparents in the community are reached, COA plans to partner with Middle Tennessee school resource centers in communities hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.
COA’s Directory of Services and online customized care guidance tool, Roobrik, are trusted sources of unbiased information for older adults, caregivers and professionals. In 2017, the online directory was enhanced and had close to 2,000 users, and COA staff responded to hundreds of calls for information on community services, housing, in-home care, insurance and transportation. Copies of the printed directories are available at public libraries, the COA office and other select locations throughout Middle Tennessee. The online directory and Roobrik may be accessed at http://directory.coamidtn.org.
A caregiver who recently called the COA for advice about his aging mother said, “I had no idea that so many resources are listed in COA’s Directory of Services, and that I can call COA or go to their website for free information and assistance.”
During the month of May, COA will participate in numerous outreach events, sharing information, education and resources:
- Lebanon Senior Center Health Fair: May 16, 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., 670 Coles Ferry Pike, Lebanon, TN 37087 – COA will answer questions and share resources for older adults and their families.
- The Opioid Crisis – A Wellness 66 Seminar: May 18, 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, 1949 Old Hickory Blvd., Brentwood, TN 37027 – COA’s Outreach Coordinator Kayse Martin will emcee the event.
- Heritage Law Group’s 2nd Annual Elder Law Expo & Workshop: May 22, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., Volunteer State Community College, 1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin, TN 37066 – COA will answer questions and share resources for older adults and their families.