Spotlight – Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD)

Animated graphics of the word "Spotlight." The word displayed is yellow neon and blue stage lights are presented in the background. Pathfinder's compass is replacing the letter O in "Spotlight."

Growing older is natural, but there are many issues–medical insurance woes, scams targeting aging adults, health concerns, limited income, and becoming a person with a disability–that may arise.  The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) was created to address many of these concerns.

Formerly the Commission on Aging, TCAD, was created by the Tennessee General Assembly in 1963. TCAD is the designated state agency on aging and is mandated to provide leadership relative to aging issues on behalf of older persons in the state of Tennessee. Their mission is to bring together and leverage programs, resources, and organizations to protect and ensure the quality of life and independence of older Tennesseans and adults with disabilities..

TCAD’s role involves advocating, planning, coordinating, linking resources, and information sharing to promote comprehensive and coordinated services.  In 1998, State legislation created a Long-Term Care Planning Council, under this commission, to create a long-term care services plan to guide the development and delivery of long-term care in the state. In June 2001 the General Assembly expanded the authority of the Commission to include services to adults under 60 years of age with disabilities.

TCAD has eleven different programs which include:

  • Caregiver Support
  • Health Promotion and Prevention
  • Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS)
  • Information and Assistance
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
  • Nutrition Services
  • OPTIONS for Community Living
  • Public Guardianship
  • State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), and
  • Transportation Assistance

For a number of years, TCAD has provided funding for multipurpose senior center programs, public guardianship, homemaker services, and home-delivered meals. On July 1, 2000, the Commission received $5 million in state funds to initiate a home- and community-based service program for older adults and other adults with disabilities who do not qualify for Medicaid long-term care services.

Homemaker, personal care, and home-delivered meals are offered under the state-funded OPTIONS for Community Living program operated by the nine Area Agencies on Aging and Disability (AAADs). Each area agency functions to connect individuals with available services through a district-wide information and referral, intake, screening, assessment, service authorization, and case management system. Access to the system is provided by statewide toll free numbers that connect callers to the appropriate area agency. TCAD is a clearinghouse for information on the needs and characteristics of older adults, maintains a specialized resource library and responds to requests for information.

May is Older Americans Month and while we are celebrating our community of aging adults, we wanted to share one of our staple resources for older Tennesseans. You can find more information about them by visiting our website under TCAD.