AGENCY ON AGING'S CEP SEEKS DIGNITY FOR ELDERS
Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald says state needs to help its retirees get older in place.
Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald wants you to enjoy a long and happy retirement — in your home.
His mission as CEO of the local Area Agency on Aging is to further the opportunity for that to happen.
He points out that Florida leads the nation in the percentage of residents who are 60 and older. In fact, a University of Florida study calls Florida “perhaps the ‘oldest’ state in the U.S.”
Estremera-Fitzgerald says Florida needs to live up to its retirement-haven status.
“We can truly make Florida a place where people don’t just come to retire,” he said last week. “We want them to age with independence, dignity and happiness.”
Estremera-Fitzgerald was recently named president of the Florida Association of Area Agencies on Aging. In that volunteer role, he aims to unify
and expand the aging network to better serve and more forcefully advocate for Florida’s seniors, adults with disabilities and those who care for them.
Area Agencies on Aging were established by the Older Americans Act of 1965 to serve Americans 60 and over.
Florida later expanded the role of the agencies to include people with disabilities.
Now known as Aging and Disability Resource Centers, Florida’s 11 organizations provide programs designed to allow older adults and disabled people to “age in place.”
As a success story, he pointed to the Community Care for the Elderly program created under former Gov. Bob Graham. “We were the innovator in the whole nation. As people are on a fixed retirement income and needed a little help — personal care, home mainte
nance, respite — the service was there. They could pay a small portion. That program has kept people home for 10 to 15 years. We need to get back to that.
“With the changing state administration, we need to unite and work closely with the new governor. We want him to have a relationship with the aging network and truly be an advocate for the elderly in Florida.
“I don’t care if the governor is a Republican or Democrat. What I want to know is, ‘What are you going to do for seniors?’
“We invite seniors to Florida and to spend their money here, he said. “They deserve the best services we can provide.”
Name: Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald Title: Chief executive officer of the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/ Treasure Coast, Inc.
Town you call home: Jupiter Education: Master’s in psychology from Pepperdine University
Family: Celebrating 26 years of marriage to Robin; raising our 13-year-old son Paul, who just started 8th grade;
and a cat named Hissyfit.
About your organization: Your Aging & Disability Resource Center, the local Area Agency on Aging of Palm
Beach/Treasure Coast, is a dynamic, private, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving seniors, adults with disabilities and those who care for them.
Our Helpline (1-866-684-5885) is the gateway to services. Most calls are from people who are interested in whether they qualify for Medicaid, need help with respite or are seeking services designed for the elderly. The biggest challenge is that there is a waiting list for many of these services.
Our mission is to promote, support and advocate for the independence, dignity and well-being of seniors, adults with disabilities and those who care for them in a manner that values diversity, reflects the communities we serve
and embraces the collaboration of the aging network.
First paying job and what you
learned from it: I worked with my father in construction carrying foundation blocks. I learned that hard work pays off.
First break in the business: Being
able Fe, New to be Mexico. a broadcast I got a chance talent in to Santa work with community leaders.
How your field has changed: The senior population is exploding worldwide. That means that the needs are multiplying exponentially.
Best business book you’ve read recently: “Fearless: Imagine Your Life ut Fear,” by Max Lucado. It encourages the reader to have faith.
Best piece of business advice you have received: Listen. Always listen.
Many successful people learn from failure. Do you have a failure you can share and what you learned
from it? My life lesson is that I am here to serve. In a previous life, I had a job that was all about making money. I actually did make good money, but failed at living the life I needed to be living ... a life of service!
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? Growth and oppor
Power lunch spot: Healthy Habit Café.
What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? Passion.
Where we’d find you when you’re not at the office? At home with Robin
Any recent accomplishments?
Having the privilege to lead this organization.
Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald, 72, chief executive officer of the Area Agency on Aging of Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, was recently named president of the Florida Association of Area Agencies on Aging.