Director’s Report

What is the Office on Aging? We are a group of dedicated people–people who serve other people. We are a staff of 55 men and women; a collection of about 25 programs. Because we are part of the Knoxville-Knox County Community Action Committee (CAC) we benefit from its well-deserved reputation for cost effective and efficient service as well as for compassionate and caring staff.

That tells you part of what we are. It tells you less about what we do. And it tells you almost nothing about how and why we do what we do.

Many of the programs under the Knoxville-Knox County Office on Aging umbrella are operated and administered independently in other communities. By bringing together many programs that serve seniors, we are able to provide integrated services in a seamless way for the people we serve, while also providing those services faster, more efficiently, and less expensively than if they each had to pay for the staffing, office space, and other overhead of being run separately.

The connection between the 25 or so programs of the Office on Aging is perhaps our greatest strength. When one of our programs makes a referral to another Office on Aging program, the referring staff person often walks across the office and discusses the referral with the other program staff, and new services can be delivered to the person in need by the end of the day rather than after weeks of playing phone tag, sending e-mails, and having to fax paperwork to agencies at the other end of the county.

If connectivity is our greatest strength, perhaps our greatest role is that of advocate and planner for senior services in Knoxville and Knox County. As members of the Council on Aging (the advisory body of the Office on Aging), seniors, service providers, agency staff, community businesses, and concerned citizens can all come together. Together, they make a plan of action, and then, with the authority granted to us as a public agency, we are able to take these plans to both the public and to the elected and business officials who can make them happen. The Office on Aging, through the Council on Aging, gives senior citizens and their family members a powerful voice in our community.

Our greatest need? YOU. We need you to tell others in the community about us, to direct us as we seek guidance about new services that are needed, to volunteer for our programs, to be our advocate in the community. YOU make us stronger. If you haven’t already, please consider becoming a partner of the Office on Aging. There are many ways that you can get involved. Please call us at (865) 524-2786 to get started.