Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hispanic Seniors in Atlanta

¿Hablas español? ¿Hay servicios para personas quienes hablan español?

Well I hope I said that correctly. I have to admit that my Spanish is a little rusty. After spending a year after college in Central America immersed in the Spanish language, I now have to make a concerted effort to practice.

But that may change in the near future. The time is near when we will be speaking many languages as service providers to meet the needs of our population.

We in aging services are constantly aware of the fact that the baby boomers are and will be revolutionizing the way that we provide services—top among the reasons is that the mere number of aging adults will be more than doubling by 2030. But another statistic struck me this week. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ U.S. Population Projections 2005-2050, “The Latino population, already the nation's largest minority group, will triple in size and will account for most of the nation's population growth from 2005 through 2050. Hispanics will make up 29% of the U.S. population in 2050, compared with 14% in 2005.”[1]

So as America ages it will also become more Hispanic. Our current services surprisingly include very few Latinos. Whether it is because our service area is not touching the highest populations of Atlanta Latinos, or because Latino older adults are not seeking assistance or are not finding assistance accessible, we must answer these important questions.

Senior Citizen Services has prided itself as providing the important safety net for Atlanta older adults who have no where else to turn for support. For more than 43 years our organization has found innovative and volunteer-driven ways to meet critical community needs. We must ensure that this does not change as our city and our country continue to diversify.

Our organization will continue to explore how it can best build bridges with various communities to meet such critical needs. Whether it is engaging more multilingual volunteers or diversifying our Meals On Wheels Atlanta menu cycle, there are a multitude of ways we can expand our crucial services to more seniors in need.

Come with me as we start a buena aventura serving all of Atlanta’s valued seniors.

Jeff Smythe, Executive Director

[1] From Website:; July 15, 2008

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