Topics on Aging

By Juan Gallo

How do seniors see themselves?

August 1, 2022

How do seniors see themselves?
A recent experience shifted my perspective on the population I serve and think about everyday.

Last month, I gave a presentation about technology to a group of residents at Kings Point in Tamarac. As I introduced what Heart2Heart does, I explained how we intentionally use the phrase “aging population” in place of “elderly” and sometimes even “senior.”

In my experience, that word choice helps volunteers think more broadly about the people they serve.

However, in keeping with our person-centered approach, I asked the group: “What do you like to be called?”

We had a good crowd for the event, about 50 people. Almost in unison, they all said, “Alive.”

The answer surprised me.

We had a good crowd for the event, about 50 people. Almost in unison, they all said, “Alive.”

You could tell that this was a conversation they’ve had before. Or maybe it really was a united thought that they all had in that moment.

I think what I heard from that is: “We want to be seen, heard and included.”

I thought that was interesting. The question for me now is, how do you put that into verbiage? The alive population? I’m not sure.

The important message is that they’re not dead. They’re not done. They’re not just seniors, not just elderly.

They didn’t want to feel like they graduated into this group of people only to be put in the corner or on the back burner.

A lot of them were very proud about what they did throughout the day.

One lady said she writes a column and draws cartoons for the community magazine. Another guy ran an online business, shipping products around the world.

How can we help someone feel what they are, which is alive?

This month, I want our seniors to tell their story. In this blog, we will give space to four friends who, to us, embody what it means to be alive and well.

I want to know from them: What does it mean to get older? How do you feel about who you are in your timeline?

What does being alive mean to you?

I’m excited to read what they have to say. Stay tuned!

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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Juan Gallo

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.

Join me for weekly discussions about what it means to be a senior in South Florida and how we can and should respond to the growing needs of the aging population.

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