Background:

In 2014, the Tennessee Attorney General recovered $40.1 million from the dissolution of two nonprofit nursing homes in Murfreesboro, TN (State of Tennessee vs. SeniorTrust of Florida, Inc. Case No. 11-1548-III and State of Tennessee vs. ElderTrust of Florida, Inc. Case No. 12-1283-IV (III)). The funds were under the auspices of the Chancery Court of Davidson County, with Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle presiding. In late 2016, Chancellor Lyle ruled that the “funds shall be used to sustain and improve the quality of life for the elderly of Tennessee”. The Chancellor’s ruling called for the following:

  • $5 million was awarded to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee to administer a statewide grant process to address immediate needs of senior serving agencies.
  • $35 million was designated for a statewide grant program to address four key areas of need: Oral Health, Affordable Housing, Legal Services and Transportation. The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) was designated the administrator of the funds. The Court established a SeniorTrust Consortium comprised of leaders of nonprofit foundation and grantmaking organizations including The West End Home Foundation, Memorial Foundation, HCA Foundation, Assisi Foundation of Memphis and the United Way of Greater Knoxville. The Consortium served as advisor to TCAD and the Chancery Court on the design, implementation and monitoring of the grant program.

Digital Literacy and Access for Older Tennesseans:

There remains an unallocated balance of $3.9 million. The Chancery Court designated The West End Home Foundation as the recipient of those funds for the purpose of designing and administering a statewide grant program aimed at bridging the digital divide that became so apparent for older adults during the pandemic. A grant program entitled “Reducing Social Isolation and Increasing Access to Essential Services Through Digital Literacy and Inclusion for Older Tennesseans” was launched on January 10, 2022. The SeniorTrust Consortium is serving in an advisory capacity to The West End Home Foundation on the implementation of this program.

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Aging Matters Documentaries:

Nashville Public Television received funding to produce Aging Matters documentaries on Oral Health and Legal Services to help promote the availability of these services.

Aging Matters: Legal Help
Legal Help Panel Discussion
Aging Matters: Dental Health
DENTAL HEALTH PANEL DISCUSSION

Statewide Initiatives to Address Priority Areas of Need:

The Statewide SeniorTrust Grant Program launched four initiatives on
April 15, 2018:

Aging in Place Program:
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis has partnered with Habitat for Humanity of TN and Tennessee Habitat Affiliates to implement a statewide Aging in Place program to provide home accessibility modifications and repairs to 1,463 Tennessee homeowners who are age 60+ and financially unable to complete the repairs themselves. The goal of the Aging in Place program is to allow these older adults to remain in the homes where they can live safely, comfortably and independently.

Westminster Home Connection, based in Nashville, TN formed a partnership with Scott Morgan Community Development Corp in East Tennessee and Reelfoot Rural Ministry of the Memphis Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church in West Tennessee. The goal of the program was to make 315 homes safe and functional for homeowners age 60 and over in East, Middle and West Tennessee. Services provided include critical repairs, mobility modifications and sort-pack-move support.

SMILE ON 60+
SMILE ON 60+ is an innovative, statewide, sustainable initiative with the goal of improving the overall health and quality of life of low-income, mobile adults age 60 and over through access to oral healthcare services and community education. SMILE ON 60+ evaluates, educates, and navigates patients into dental homes. Transportation to dental providers is offered to help reduce barriers to receiving treatment. Interfaith Dental in Nashville, TN is the lead agency and has created a network of dental care for older Tennesseans comprised of 22 partners in 32 locations. This project has transformed the system of oral health care for older adults in Tennessee.

Tennessee Senior Law Alliance:
Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services (TALS) partnered with the West Tennessee Legal Services, Memphis Area Legal Services, Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and Legal Aid of East Tennessee to form a one-of-a-kind network known as the Tennessee Senior Law Alliance (TSLA) to provide civil legal assistance to meet the legal needs of Tennessee’s most vulnerable adults age 60 and over. TSLA works to help older adults by addressing core legal issues such as accessing healthcare, housing, estate planning (simple wills, powers of attorney, advanced directives), income maintenance, consumer finance, abuse and exploitation. Collectively, TSLA has worked with partners to ensure that Tennessee’s older residents can live their lives safely, securely and with dignity. The TSLA team is comprised of more than thirty members across the state to provide services in all 95 counties.

Tennessee Senior Volunteer Transportation Network:
The Senior Volunteer Transportation Network (SVTN) is a coalition of volunteer transportation programs that serves older adults in Tennessee. This network of programs strives to meet the five A’s of age-friendly transportation: Availability, Accessibility, Acceptability, Affordability and Adaptability. This type of transportation provides a more personalized option for older adults who need door-through-door transportation. In addition to providing needed transportation, these volunteer programs offer opportunities for social interaction. With the key feature of volunteer transportation being volunteer drivers, many meaningful relationships have been developed between drivers and riders. The goals of the SVTN are to expand the capacity of existing volunteer transportation programs and to create thirty new programs in underserved areas across the state.