This May, our United Way met with Miami-Dade County stakeholders to lay the groundwork for increased collaboration through advocacy on behalf of Older Adults in our community. Among the 90 attendees was a mix of leaders from Miami-Dade’s business, government, nonprofit/philanthropic, faith, and academic sectors.
Our United Way was proud to host this momentous event in partnership with the Older Adult Advocacy Taskforce, in collaboration with AARP Florida, and with sponsorship from the Retirement Research Foundation.
The big question was: What will it take to elevate Older Adult issues from being seen as a concern for individuals and families to being viewed as a community-level issue worthy of big-picture planning, advocacy and response?
After considering local research encompassing both leadership perspectives and voter perspectives, participants weighted in on the question in small group discussion. They provided a range of input related to the need for succinct and compelling advocacy messages, key champions to carry the message, engagement of additional allies, and more.
A major event highlight was the result of a new poll of Miami-Dade voters which indicated that Older Adults are not named as an initial, top-of-mind concern among voters. However, when specifically asked about Older Adults and related issues such as caregiving, responsibilities and financial impacts on families, the large majority felt the issues were very important and agreed that something needs to be done about it. More than half of poll participants have personal experience as caregivers.
We learned that scratching the surface with a few important questions focused on Older Adults led to overwhelming interest and support for increased efforts on behalf of this growing population. Interest is consistent among Miami-Dade voters of all backgrounds and affiliations.
United Way and the Older Adult Advocacy Taskforce will use the results of this event to inform joint advocacy and education efforts. A critical first step is raising consciousness across all levels of leadership about the state of aging in our community to ensure strategic and thoughtful leadership, planning, and solution-building for our aging community.