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Booming senior population swells ranks of hungry

March 15th, 2014 7:48 pm by Hank Hayes

Booming senior population swells ranks of hungry

BLOUNTVILLE — Senior hunger and living needs were highlighted at a Friday legislative breakfast hosted by Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.

"(Baby) Boomers and senior hunger is our number one issue," declared Margot Seay, a Second Harvest board member and advisory board member of the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability.

Second Harvest Community Relations Director Kathy Smith noted that in the year 2040, there will be 79.7 million older adults — more than twice as many as in 2000.

"These changing demographics will have a profound impact on the demand for social services, especially the need for adequate nutrition services," Smith said.

Jim Shulman, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability, talked about the importance of the state's OPTIONS for Community Living program providing in-home services such as meals and personal care to more than 2,700 elderly and disabled Tennesseans.

The $8.5 million state-funded OPTIONS program is available through local Area Agencies on Aging and Disability, but still has about 9,000 people on a waiting list for services, including 1,500 in Northeast Tennessee.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Sunday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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