South Florida Institute on Aging Symposium Produces Insights and Calls to Action
The South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA) recently held its second annual Caregiver Symposium, co-hosted by the Caregiver Coalition of South Florida, and held at the H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University.
“Baby Boomers, followed by Gen X, will all be in or reaching retirement age in the next 30 years and we can no longer ignore the social and economic transformations taking place,” said SoFIA President and CEO Peter Kaldes. “By bringing policy makers, business leaders, educators, caregivers and thought leaders to events such as these, we are taking action by creating the regional and national partnerships needed to develop and implement future policy and services.”
The keynote presentation was the release of findings from a comprehensive study of Broward’s older population commissioned by the Community Foundation of Broward, United Way of Broward County and the Jewish Federation of Broward County which determined:
- 6,500 Broward seniors are currently on waitlists for elder services;
- 9 percent of Broward’s elders live below the poverty line well above the national average of nine percent; and
- less than five percent Broward County government’s budget is allocated for senior services.
Another takeaway was the call to action to participate in SAGE Table on November 8, a national multi-generational initiative that asks the LGBT community and allies of all ages to sit down to a meal for a transformative conversation about aging.
Symposium sessions included in-depth discussions of policy, technological advances for caregivers, physical and emotional challenges of caregiving, unique aging issues faced by the LGBT community, end of life planning and available community resources.
Award-winning journalist and author Chris Farrell was the featured guest speaker and participants included: Senator Nan Rich; Sunshine Health CEO Chris Paterson; Vivian Piereschi, district director for Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz; City of Tamarac Commissioner Julie Fishman; AARP Vice President of Long Term Services & Supports Jean Accius; CBS 4 Anchor Rick Folbaum; Community Foundation of Broward Vice President of Grants and Initiatives Sheri Brown; Rev. Anne Atwell, Sunshine Cathedral minister of connections; SAGE NYC Chief Engagement Officer Sterling Herr; and The Pride Center Senior Service Coordinator Bruce Williams.
The event was presented by Nova Southeastern University and Sunshine Health. Free admission to caregivers courtesy of FPL and Humana was the luncheon sponsor. Other sponsors included: AARP of South Florida, Florida Community Loan Fund, Kaufman Rossin, Our Fund Foundation and Vitas Healthcare. Additional support was provided by vendor sponsors Assisting Hands Home Care, Care Patrol, CarePlus Health Plans, Coventry Health Care, Paradise Home Health Care and Value Care as well as by nonprofit partners The Mayer Foundation and Catholic Hospice, Goodman Jewish Family Services, Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling, Mind & Melody and Transforming Lives and More, Inc.
South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA), a non-profit with 50 + years of service is now a new “Think & Act Tank” focused on economic and social research, policy and programs to support South Florida’s aging community. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 National Population Projections, by 2035, they project that older adults will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history. This new mission was formed based on the aging projections for South Florida and beyond, as well as the current and anticipated challenges that seniors face. SoFIA has garnered tremendous community support and two inaugural projects have been announced with support from Citrix, The Jim Moran Foundation, Broward County VA Outpatient Clinic and Nova Southeastern University to study and improve digital literacy among older adults. Visit www.theSoFIA.org for more information.