Governor's task force focusing on seniors' health

Governor's task force focusing on seniors' health

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From a belly dancing class, to a class called "Humor and Health," more than 200 seniors come to the O'Connor Senior Center to get healthy. From a belly dancing class, to a class called "Humor and Health," more than 200 seniors come to the O'Connor Senior Center to get healthy.
Even though many seniors take advantage of these activities to try to stay healthy, others still feel more needs to be done to get more people involved. Even though many seniors take advantage of these activities to try to stay healthy, others still feel more needs to be done to get more people involved.
Even outside companies, like the YMCA are trying to help seniors stay healthy. Even outside companies, like the YMCA are trying to help seniors stay healthy.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The population of people over 65 is growing in Tennessee.     

To address the needs of this group of people, Governor Haslam formed a special task force on aging.

On Wednesday, the task force met in Knoxville to get ideas from residents about problems they face.

The task force is focusing on three specific problems facing seniors, including creating livable communities, supporting family caregivers, and promoting healthy aging.     

The last one, promoting healthy aging, had a lot of people talking on Wednesday.

From a belly dancing class, to a class called "Humor and Health," more than 200 seniors come to the O'Connor Senior Center to get healthy.

"Dancing is always good, no matter what, and you get to dress up, so it's fun," said belly dance teacher Rusty Leslie.

Even though many seniors take advantage of these activities to try to stay healthy, others still feel more needs to be done to get more people involved.

"A lot don't have transportation," said Knoxville senior Eartha Rogers.

Community leaders agree more needs to be done to transport seniors to places like the senior center.

"We've had several meetings here with KAT folks, with CAC transit," said senior center manager Sue Massingill, "That is one challenge we face."    

Another challenge in Knox County is making sure every senior gets a good meal. Mobile Meals is trying to tackle that problem.

"We serve about 850 meals a day," said CAC executive director Barbara Kelly. "That's a significant number, but that number needs to grow."    

They are working on letting more people know about this service, and looking for ways to fund it.     

Even outside companies, like the YMCA are trying to help seniors stay healthy.

"We offer a ton of different silver sneaker style classes that are geared specifically for seniors," said YMCA program director Samuel McCahill.

Even though there are still problems that need to be fixed, having the dialogue open to fix them is a good way to start.

The Governor's Task Force on Aging was started in August.      

Wednesday's idea gathering session at the senior center was the first step in making some final decisions on how to fix the problems.     

They hope to get those started by next year.     

For more information about activities offered at the John T. O'Conner Senior Center you can call (865) 523-1135.

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