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Task Force on Aging to help seniors

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the formation of the Task Force on Aging, a group charged with creating a plan to improve the lives and care of older Tennesseans and their families through a collaboration of public, private and nonprofit leaders.

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 14 percent of Tennesseans are 65 years of age or older, and the national average is 13.7 percent. Tennessee’s number is expected to grow to more than 22 percent by 2020.

 Haslam has asked the task force to focus on three areas: promoting healthy aging; creating livable communities; and supporting family caregivers.

 “I want to thank the task force and all those involved for dedicating their time and effort to improving the lives of others,” Haslam said. “The Task Force on Aging will develop a strategic plan, drawing on the public, private and non-profit sectors to better meet the needs of older Tennesseans and their families, now and into the future.”

 Lipscomb University’s Charla Long, Dean of the College of Professional Studies and The School of TransformAging, will chair the 11-member task force. The remaining members are:

 · Mike Carpenter, Executive Director, Plough Foundation

· Rev. Richard H. Gentzler Jr., D.Min., Former Director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries, GBOD-UMC

· Rebecca B. Kelly, State Director, AARP Tennessee

· Patti Killingsworth, Assistant Commissioner, Chief of Long Term Services and Supports, TennCare

· Ben Leedle, President and CEO, Healthways

· Michelle J. Long, J.D., Assistant Commissioner of Health Licensure and Regulation, Tennessee Department of Health

· Anna-Gene O’Neal, R.N., M.S.N., M.B.A., President and CEO, Alive Hospice

· Madeline Rogero, Mayor, City of Knoxville

· Jim Shulman, Executive Director, Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability

· Beth Tipps, Deputy Director of Policy and Research, Governor’s Office

 The task force will hold its first meeting in September.