Photos & Story provided by Council on Aging of West Florida
In 2017, about 16 percent of the American population was 65 years old or over; a figure which is expected to reach 22 percent by 2050. This is a significant increase from 1950, when only eight percent of the population was 65 or over. As we are living longer, there is an increasing need for services and care for our aging population. The Council on Aging of West Florida is an area non-profit that exists only to support seniors in various ways to enhance their lives and allow them to live a more fulfilling and healthy life. The Council of Aging provides various services and opportunities that fill in the gaps where aging adults may not have enough social, family, or financial support or just when additional services can enhance their daily lives.
The Council on Aging of West Florida supports, advocates, and serves our community of aging adults in various ways. They offer senior volunteer programs. They provide meals, nutrition and socialization. They offer caregiver support and offer stimulating daytime experiences at The Retreat – a special place, and experience, that has been described as refreshing, supportive, fun, assuring, caring and heartwarming by those who participate and their families. It is a place that provides a positive change of environment that can be beneficial to participants and caregivers.
Just over the past year, the Council of Aging served nearly 200,000 meals to over 1,500 vulnerable senior adults. Their 56 senior volunteers know as Foster Grandparents have mentored 168 at-risk students for over 65,000 hours. Additionally, their 56 Senior Companions have served 66 senior adult peers in their own homes for nearly 50,000 hours. They trained or provided support to nearly 200 caregivers, and provided social services such as homemaking, respite, and personal care to more than 250 homebound elders. The Council on Aging staff and volunteers enables senior adults to remain living at home, with independence and dignity, for as long as possible through these services and more. Their agency, staff and volunteers have also been responsible for giving out hundreds of AC and heater units in the summer and winter, installing dozens of wheelchair ramps and advocating about the challenges that the elderly face to nearly 23,000 elected officials, business leaders, community members, and their families. Additionally, the agency distributes over $30,000 worth of Christmas gifts every year to make the holiday season a little brighter for our seniors.
Learn more about how you, a family member, or a friend can benefit, volunteer, and brighten the day for this diverse and deserving part of our community at www.coawfla.org.