A Message from Linda Levin
Thanks to the Internet, it’s now easy to find quotes, statistics, blogs, cartoons and essays on growing old. While there is an abundance of messages and information proclaiming the downside of aging, you can also find plenty of useful resources and information on how to live your best life after the age of 50.
We are ElderSource, the Area Agency on Aging and Aging & Disability Resource Center for Northeast Florida, equipped to help individuals living in our seven county areas to access the resources they need to face the challenges of aging, as well as find ways to harness the information and tools they need to live out their lives with independence and dignity.
For adults living with disabilities and the loved ones caring for them, ElderSource wants to be there for them, too, helping them to find resources and applying for benefits.
In addition to serving as the key “connector” to these resources, ElderSource is the voice for elders speaking on their behalf to community leaders, government officials and businesses.
As our communities grow and change, we believe it is important to start addressing these changes now. We need to develop the necessary plans to help people age with dignity and independence and keeping them engaged and contributing to our community, society and economy.
When we talk about transportation, the discussion needs to include elders. People are going to need accessible and reliable and affordable transportation; our roads will need to accommodate older drivers, such as adapting signage.
When talking about housing, the discussion needs to include elders. Communities need to be planned so they are walkable and older adults can easily get to places of business and affordable housing need to be designed and built to accommodate the aging population.
When talking about education, we need to think about elders. It is these elders who volunteer in the schools and more of them will be needed. Many grandparents are raising their grandchildren, something they didn’t expect to have to do and at a time when subjects they never had to learn are being taught or are being taught differently from when they were in school.
When we talk about jobs, we need to talk about elders. People are going to have to work longer than expected, we are going to need more of them to continue working longer as there will not be enough young workers to support them or companies.
When we discuss crime and justice, we need to include elders in the conversation as they are often vulnerable and are easy targets for predators, falling victim to abuse, neglect and exploitation.
An aging community is not good or bad, it’s just a fact and one we need to start preparing for now so that we not only address the needs of a growing aging community, but also ensure that elders remain engaged.
The staff and Board at ElderSource are working diligently every day to ensure that seniors, adults living with disabilities and their caregivers are included in the important discussions happening in our community. I hope you will work with us to be part of that discussion, and work with us to action, too.