OPINION

Guest opinion: Hope Florida - seniors helping seniors

John Grant
Special to The News-Press
Sam Jones used cycling to stay in shape when he took part in motocross. Now the 80-year-old is considering taking part in the Senior Olympics.

I am proud to be a Florida resident for a number of reasons. But I’m especially proud to have a governor and first lady who work tirelessly to help seniors in our state.

Recently, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced her Hope Florida initiative would now extend to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. This expansion, called Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose, will provide support for older folks in Florida by increasing assistance for seniors in need. The idea is to connect individuals and organizations that want to help seniors who need the help.

“Hope Florida – A Pathway to Purpose is an all-hands-on-deck operation to meet the needs of seniors while creating opportunities for them to give back,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “We are not only aiding Floridians in search of help but also tapping into the Florida retiree population to volunteer.”

John Grant

The initiative also provides a way for seniors to help seniors through something called the “Hope Heroes Program.” Retirees can become a Hope Hero and support a senior in their community. To learn about volunteer opportunities, call 800-96-ELDER or visit helpcreatehope.com.

Or connect with a Hope Navigator who will identify ways for older folks to find purpose, which could take the form of volunteering or mentoring. To be paired with a Hope Navigator, call 850-300-HOPE.

“Florida has a robust aging network that has an engaging presence in each local community. It’s our goal to ensure seniors are living well and aging well in the place of their choosing,” said Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham.

Approximately 11,000 Americans turn 65 every day and 4.2 million of them live in Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis has embraced this community by putting Seniors First during the pandemic, providing funding for Alzheimer’s research and assistance, and simply taking the time to listen to seniors and identify and understand their needs.

Clearly, it’s a family mission and a noble one we should all consider rallying behind. In these times of division within our country, here’s something that can unite people of all political parties.

As President Ronald Reagan once said, “Our American tradition of neighbor helping neighbor has always been one of our greatest and most notable traditions.”

We know it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s also the American thing to do.

John Grant, former State Representative, and State Senator, an estate planning attorney, and a member of the National Senior Citizen Hall of Fame, has spent much of his career working on behalf of seniors.  John is continuing the advocacy work by heading a new venture called Seniors Across America to continue speaking up for our elderly population.

Website: Seniors Across America

You can reach John at: john@seniorsacrossamerica.net