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New Department on Disability and Aging to Support Aging Services in Northeast Tennessee

On April 11, 2024 Governor Bill Lee signed the Tennessee Disability and Aging Act legislation that merges Tennessee’s Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD) and Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), creating a new Department of Disability and Aging (DDA). The bill received unanimous, bipartisan legislative support and was backed by numerous stakeholders. With a rapidly increasing aging population, the state must ensure it has the infrastructure in place to serve the needs of older adults. The new department will be overseen by Commissioner Brad Turner, who has served as the Commissioner of DIDD since 2019.

TCAD is Tennessee’s federally designated “state unit on aging,” and is currently overseeing Older Americans Act programs and providing leadership relative to aging issues throughout state government. The First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability(FTAAAD) has been overseen by TCAD since its inception in 1974. Adults 65 years and older are the fastest-growing demographic in Tennessee.

By elevating TCAD to a department as the newly formed Department of Disability and Aging, lawmakers sought to enhance strategic planning and coordination relative to aging issues across state government . “When I became governor, I made a commitment to shrink the size of government, ensuring we efficiently and effectively serve all Tennesseans,” said Gov. Lee. “This is one example of our work to deliver on that promise, enabling better coordination and stronger advocacy.”

"Raising the work needed to serve older adults and those with disabilities to a cabinet-level department provides a tremendous opportunity to address current and future needs to make more livable communities and help older Tennesseans and those with disabilities remain healthy, active, and engaged," said Angie Gwaltney, Director of the FTAAAD. "I am happy to see Tennessee make this monumental change." Gwaltney added she is excited to work with the new department to best serve the aging community in Northeast Tennessee.

For questions related to the First Tennessee Area Agency on Aging & Disability, visit

For questions about this or other District News, please contact Mark Stevans,

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