Nearly 900,000 people aged 65 or older live in Tennessee. That is an increase of 25% since 2000, one of the biggest jumps among Southern states. With that number only expected to rise as time goes on, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability is scrambling to come up with services and programs to keep the burgeoning senior population happy and healthy.
Those programs nclude:
-- Congregate Meals: Meals served in a group setting at community centers, senior facilities or houses of worship.
-- Disaster Preparedness: Making sure seniors are prepared in the event of natural disasters.
-- Elder Abuse: Educating seniors about abuse and neglect and investigating such allegations.
-- Home Delivered Meals: Meals delivered directly to the homes of frail seniors.
-- Homemaker Services/Personal Care: Helping seniors with such daily activities as meal preparation, light housework and grooming.
-- Nutrition Education: Teaching seniors about healthy eating.
-- Ombudsman Long-Term Care Program: A watchdog to stand up for the rights and help residents of long-term care facilities.
-- Public Guardianship: A program that allows the state to provide conservatorship to seniors who do not have a friend or family member willing to step in.
-- State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP): Objective and unbiased counseling on Medicare and health insurance related issues.
-- Tennessee Garden Project: Establishing community gardens so seniors can eat fresh, nutritious foods.
All seniors who live alone or with a spouse should consider getting a medical alert system. Such a system can save your life in the event of an emergency.
Studies show that a third of all seniors will suffer a serious fall every year. Research also shows that the sooner help arrives, the more likely a senior will be to make a full recovery from injuries suffered in that fall. Without a medical alert system, you could lay on the floor for hours or days before help arrives. The results could be tragic.
If you have a medical alert system, all you have to do is press the button on your alert bracelet or necklace and help will arrive at your doorstep within minutes.
At first glance it appears every medical alert company offers the same services, but there are differences. To compare the services from more than a dozen top companies, click this link.
Studies show that a brain in rest is a dangerous thing – inactivity and a lack of stimulation could lead to mental decline, even dementia. Tennessee has a program called Senior Brain Games in an attempt to keep the minds of seniors sharp.
Members of Tennessee senior centers are eligible to take part in these face-to-face competitions. The games pit seniors against each other in “Jeopardy” style literal mind games.
The state admits that this is not a cure for dementia-related illnesses. But if it can help seniors avoid such a fate and they can have fun at the same time, why not try it?