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The Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald Interview (Page 1 of 2)

An Interview with Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald
Chief Executive Officer - Your Aging Resource Center
Palm Beach/Treasure Coast, Florida

Jaime Estremera Fitzgerald

Gary Barg: Tell me about the work of the Area Agencies on Aging around the country and Your Aging Resource Center in particular.

Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald: Area Agencies on Aging were set up to oversee the whole older Americans Act system, which is really to keep having support and services available in every county in America for seniors and their caregivers as they age in place. That’s the key. And the mission has always been to keep people at home for as long as possible, with dignity and independence.

The new designation of Aging and Disability Resource Centers speaks to a whole national movement of bringing together all the pieces that older Americans are involved with as they age. And many Americans in this country have children that are disabled, who themselves have aged quite a bit. They may even be seniors. And guess what? The seniors, the parents or family members are now older themselves and they’re developing problems and needs.

The Aging Network at the national level saw a need of bringing together under the new agency for community living—we are now the Administration on Aging and Disabilities—all of this. And I’m excited about it for Palm Beach and the Treasure Coast because it means that for many of these folks who have not been able to have a place they can connect to will now find out about more resources, more help that could be available.

Gary Barg: There are 66.7 million family caregivers in the country. And I think we’re the most underutilized political action group that the world has ever seen. How would you suggest the family caregiver get their voice heard at the local, federal and state levels?

Jaime Estremera-Fitzgerald: Caregiving is becoming a more critical issue than ever before, exactly for why you said it. If it were not for the caregivers in America, the government would be overwhelmed with the needs. So we must put more energy and more intention into helping caregivers in this country.

The caregivers need to be saying, “Look, with the changes that are taking place, let’s make sure that we are in dialogue with the Aging Network. Let’s work together like the Association of Area Agencies on Aging and let’s make sure our disability associations and coalitions are integrated and talking together, communicating and developing one solid agenda that has all these pieces.”

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