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First Kentucky Senior Health Summit Is Oct. 30


Kentucky will hold its first ‘Senior Hunger Summit’ on Wed., Oct. 30 in Frankfort. State and local leaders say it’s time to confront hunger and related health issues facing older residents.


Kentucky ranks 50th in the nation in preventable hospitalizations, according to the United Health Foundation’s 2019 Senior Report.

Shannon Gadd is commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living. She said access to nutritious food on a regular basis is key in preventing hospitalizations and addressing other health problems facing seniors.

“I think people just are unaware of the issues. Fixed incomes, higher cost of food, higher cost of medicine, lack of transportation," said Gadd. "One of the things we want to hammer home with the hunger summit is that we have a problem, but also we have solutions.”

Gadd said addressing food insecurity among seniors has to be made a priority among state and community leaders.

The Bluegrass State has earned another low ranking that affects the health of older reisdents. Kentucky is 46th in the nation for the number of home-delivered meals for seniors. Gadd said Kentucky can do better despite its rural geography.

“North Dakota has the lowest rate of food insecurity. Wyoming is number one in home-delivered meals," said Gadd. "So I think it’s time that we take a really good look at what our priorities are and stop using the rural landscape as an excuse.”

Gadd said the social structure where families live near older relatives and care for them is changing all across the U.S., including in Kentucky. Family members sometimes relocate for education or jobs, and intergenerational households are not as common as they once were.

She said many programs and community groups provide meals for seniors, but efforts need to coordinated and prioritized statewide.

The day-long Kentucky Senior Health Summit will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Buck Run Baptist Church at 1950 Leestown Road in Frankfort.


           Agenda for Kentucky Senior Hunger Summit

8:30-9:00  Registration

9:00-9:15  Welcome and Overview

  • Ryan Quarles, Commissioner Department of Agriculture

  • Adam Meier, Secretary, Cabinet for Health and Family Services

  • Shannon Gadd, Commissioner Department for Aging and Independent Living

  • Doug Hogan, Director of Internal Communications & Employee Engagement

9:15-10:00  Enid Borden, Keynote Speaker, Founder and CEO National Foundation to End Senior     Hunger
10:00-10:45  Dr. James Ziliak Founding Director, Center for Poverty Research, University of Kentucky

10:45-11:00  Break

11:00-11:45  Owensboro Medical System Food Waste Program

  • Debbie Johnson, Director Community Engagement Owensboro Health

  • Dana Peveler, Executive Director Senior Center of Owensboro

  • Jennifer Williams, Director Green River Area Agency on Aging and Independent Living

?11:45-1:00  Lunch, Guided Table Discussions from 12:30-1:00
1:00-1:45  Campus Dining Program, Teresa Cook, Ohio District 5 Vice President of Marketing and Development 

1:45-2:45  Panel Discussion:

  • Moderator: Tamara Sandberg, Executive Director - Feeding Kentucky

  • Danielle Pierce Bozarth, Programs and Partner Services Director - God’s Pantry Food Bank

  • Jennifer Garland, Social Worker - Lexington Senior Center

  • Trish Rayner, Vice President of External Affairs - Freestore Foodbank

  • Brian Riendeau, Executive Director - Dare to Care Food Bank

2:45- 3:30 Program Spotlights 
3:30-4:00  Next steps, Closing

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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