Open House to Bring Together Advocates for Aging Adults with Religious Leaders Seeking to Assist Those Adults

Leaders of faith-based and religious organizations and advocates for aging adults are invited to a Chattanooga open house event to raise awareness of and better coordinate resources for older people.

The come-and-go open house will feature presentations, information booths from support organizations and light refreshments. It takes place 2-6 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the Camp House, 806 E. 12th St. Brief formal presentations will be held at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m.

The event is hosted by engAGING Communities Tennessee, an initiative to empower faith-based and religious congregations to provide aging community members and their caregivers with health and wellness programs and support. The initiative largely focuses on issues surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias and is led by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Nursing.

It is part of the larger, statewide Intrastate Network to Deliver Equity and Eliminate Disparities, known by the acronym INDEED, a grant-funded effort to address COVID-19 health disparities among high-risk and underserved populations. Partner organizations include the Tennessee Department of Health, Alzheimer’s Association (Tennessee Chapter), Honoring Choices Tennessee, CIT Connect, Heart Tones, Alter Dementia and Tennessee Alliance for Legal Services.

Kristi Wick, Vicki B. Gregg Chair of Gerontology and assistant professor in the UTC School of Nursing, said the event is a starting point for engAGING Communities, which will host a series of meet and greets in communities throughout Tennessee.

“This is a first step in making introductions to connect with faith-based and religious organizations throughout the state and introduce them to our initiative, as well as our partner organizations,” said Wick, primary investigator on the INDEED grant. “We are doing a lot of listening to learn how we may best work within each unique community.”

Eighty-five percent of Tennesseans affiliate with one of the state’s 11,500 houses of faith, according to the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. INDEED aims to strengthen faith organizations’ capacities to support aging individuals in their congregations impacted by the pandemic, chronic illness, dementia-related conditions and social determinants of health.

Registration is not required for attending the event, but registering will help organizers better anticipate resources needed for guests. Register here.