Food for Thought – The Silver Tsunami

Nearly one quarter of Broward’s population is
seniors. The 80-plus population will grow by more than 73 percent over the next 12
years. This shift will be massive and it will be very, very hard for this
community to deal with because 80 marks a turning point. The mobility decreases,
many begin to outlive their resources, far too many lose their social
connections and they become invisible. Most never have tapped social services
ever in their life but now they find that they need a little help but they
don’t know where to turn. And for those that do turn to resources, they find that
they’re on long waiting lists. So we are sounding the alarm! The “Silver Tsunami” is
coming. Is Broward ready? That’s the question. Well we don’t believe that we
are. We have made Dignity in Aging one of our 10 focus areas of our leadership
work, as well as, our grant-making work. But we’re going to bring to light some
of the highlights from this report we published called the “Silver Tsunami.” Four themes raised to the to the top: that we have a safety net but it’s not strong
enough. We have unfortunately negative effects from isolation. We also have
economic self-sufficiency issues and we have some perception issues in general
about how the community feels about seniors. I think Steven is right it’s
resources that we need in this community but it’s also to a great degree
coordination and collaboration. This is a deceiving issue folks think the retirees
come down with pensions and dollars from selling a house up north and that’s not
today’s senior here in Broward County. Aging is an issue that we have to
address not in silos but collectively, so to have a community that cares about
aging issues; and to have a leader like The Community Foundation bring together
different voices around how to change the way we view aging and change the way
we fund aging is a really important effort. The Community Foundation brought forward
all the things that we need to think about as our community grows and as our
population grows to be older. And those are really very important issues to address.
I think that we can all work together to accomplish that, so a lot of ideas were
presented it was really a great learning experience for me and I look forward to
working with them. There is a lot of hope and so that’s one thing we need to take
away from this but let’s also remember that effective leadership has to be bold
to create change, so we ask all of you to also be bold.

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