GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018 - 13

the future of aging

Living longer, living well
BY RICHARD PRUDOM

T

here are countless decisions we face during a lifetime - what career to choose, when to start a family,
which house to buy, to name a few. But one of the
most important choices to be made is where to spend our
later years.
Most people don't consider this or actively plan for it;
however, it is so important for each of us to thoughtfully
consider where we can live and live well as we age. How
supportive is the community? Is it inclusive, accessible,
and welcoming? Does it encourage your active engagement and participation? Does it celebrate your experience and value your input? I'm proud to say that Florida
communities are all of this and continue to improve
year-after-year.
The Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) is Florida's
State Unit on Aging, and it is our mission to keep older
Floridians healthy, safe, and independent. We can only
accomplish this with the participation of local communities and through the active engagement of older
Floridians.

"

"
"

"...studies show that older
Floridians contribute thousands
more to the local economies than
they consume in public services."
13 GRAND

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2018

The population of older Floridians continues to
increase year-after-year, and while some may mistakenly
assume that this is a financial burden on our towns, counties, and state, they could not be more wrong. In fact,
studies show that older Floridians contribute thousands
more to the local economies than they consume in public
services.
But the contributions of our elders are so much more
than just financial. Our older population serves as a
treasured link to our past, present, and future, and we
embrace their commitment to making Florida a better
place for future generations.

"

"Aging is not 'lost youth,' but a
new stage of opportunity and
strength."

At DOEA, we celebrate having the largest population
percentage of adults age 65 and older in the nation.
We are proud to serve such an engaged community of
diverse adults that cross all boundaries of race, income,
gender, and experiences. While some may view aging
as the phase of life where you become frail, your input
no longer matters, and your children begin making
your decisions for you, we reject that premise. While

there certainly are individuals who need assistance or
long-term care services, this is not a bad thing. We
believe that aging is not something to dread but to
welcome.
As Betty Friedan said, "Aging is not 'lost youth,' but
a new stage of opportunity and strength." The future
of aging in Florida is hopeful as we have more services
and supports for those needing assistance and active
communities that are encouraging engagement at every
age so that older Floridians feel independent, dignified,
and purposeful. We are proud to partner with respected
organizations like AARP to spread Livable Communities
- those that are accessible, welcoming, and inclusive -
across Florida and ensure that older Floridians remain
involved and have their voice heard. As we celebrate
aging and encourage Florida's communities to do the
same, they become great places - and lifelong homes -
for people of all ages.

Richard Prudom has more than 30
years in executive leadership with the
State of Florida and currently serves as
Deputy Secretary/Chief of Staff for the
Department of Elder Affairs. Among his
other priorities, he leads the Department's
efforts to make Florida age-friendly.


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GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

Contents
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018 - 1
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