Topics on Aging

By Juan Gallo

Why do we overlook the aging population?

February 14, 2022

A dark-haired older man smiles and dances with a curly haired woman on a patio.

In my current job as CEO of Heart2Heart, I get to see amazing acts of kindness every day. Our volunteers are remarkable people who truly love and care for the seniors they visit and talk with. Their enthusiasm inspires me every day. They are the fuel that keeps this unique organization going. 

At Heart2Heart, we also see the growing needs of seniors in our community. We receive calls every day about aging saints who crave companionship in their homes or have basic needs like food, transportation and medical supplies. The population of the care centers we serve encompasses more than 3,000 aging adults – and that is a small percentage of the hundreds of care centers across South Florida. 

If I’m honest, it troubles me that we are not doing more to meet the needs of the fastest and most vulnerable population group in our nation: seniors. I know that not every person is a good fit for the type of ministry we do at Heart2Heart, but I do believe that we can all do something.

My goal is to meet every single one of the needs we encounter. But it’s a challenge. Florida has the highest concentration of aging adults in America. South Florida, and specifically Broward County, has the fastest growing population of people older than 85, according to the Community Foundation of Broward

When I step back and look at this big picture, I’m filled with urgency to recruit more volunteers to our mission. 

If I’m honest, it troubles me that we are not doing more to meet the needs of the fastest and most vulnerable population group in our nation: seniors. I know that not every person is a good fit for the type of ministry we do at Heart2Heart, but I do believe that we can all do something.

So, I wonder: Why do we overlook a class of people that each of us will eventually become? 

Is it fear? Do people avoid thinking about aging adults because they want to put off their own inevitable aging process? 

Is it our impatience with the slower pace of seniors that gives would-be volunteers pause? Are we not educating the community enough about the needs that exist?

Are we too busy with our own lives to remember the seniors in the community? 

People talk highly of their relationships with Grandma or Grandpa. Why not have more opportunities like that? I think our community could use more wisdom and more slow-paced conversations that our senior saints are so good at delivering. 

What could you do? If you’re already one of our amazing volunteers, thank you! Is there a friend whom you could recruit to our mission? Check out these outreach opportunities here

Why do you think we overlook our seniors? Comment with your thoughts below.

Read more about:
Juan Gallo
Juan Gallo is the CEO of Heart2Heart Outreach, where he oversees the mobilization of volunteers to provide hope, share love and restore purpose to the lives of the aging population across South Florida.

He also serves as a local pastor and as an adjunct professor at Trinity International University, where he is teaching a course on diversity and aging. Juan has a master’s degree in counseling and psychology and is a licensed mental health counselor intern.

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This blog is a frank conversation about what it means to age in our society.

I want us to consider what a wider range of diverse experiences when we talk about aging. I want to reflect on how we, as a community, want our neighbors and our mothers and fathers and our grandparents to live out their latter decades of life. I want us to consider each one of their voices as we strive to meet their needs.

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