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TN launches ‘Care through Conversation’ program

The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability announced on April 20 a new support program to help older adults who are facing social isolation and food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

The “Care through Conversation” program will help ensure that the needs of older adults are met through a regularly scheduled telephone call from a volunteer that will conduct a needs assessment. During the call, the volunteer will be able to glean further information during a warm conversation to guarantee the participant is safe both mentally and physically. At minimum, volunteers will conduct one call a week, but additional calls can be requested.

“I applaud the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability for developing a creative and thoughtful program that will help ensure the needs of some of our most vulnerable will continue to be met amid the ongoing public health crisis,” said Maria Lee, First Lady of Tennessee. “Having personally volunteered for the program, I can attest firsthand how much a simple phone call helps brighten the day of those isolated from everyday life.”

Jim Shulman, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, says he agrees with the First Lady.

“In our experience, a regular check-in from a volunteer can help make sure that older adults have all they need at home – food in the refrigerator and pantry, prescriptions in the medicine chest and kind words from a friend on the telephone,” said Shulman.

Volunteers will go through a background check and be provided training materials that include conversational questions and instructions on how to handle common situations.

To register someone who could benefit from a Care through Conversation phone call, log onto: www.tn.gov/aging/our-programs/care-through-conversation or dial: 615-253-4307.