We watched the recent Democratic debate with hopes of hearing some plans for addressing the growing crisis of poverty and inequality in our nation. Would any of the candidates really talk about poverty? Would would any of them even mention the 6.4 million senior citizens living in poverty?
Here are three quick take-aways from our first look at today’s United States Census Income and Poverty report. 1. Women over 75 are at particular “Senior Poverty in Today’s Census Report”
Nationally, twenty-three percent of low-income older adults currently face food insecurity – meaning they lack consistent access to adequate food. This figure is expected to double over the next decade as the number of seniors living in poverty continues to increase. In Los Angeles County, there are over 300,000 low-income seniors who cannot make ends meet. Yet, only a fraction of this population – approximately nineteen percent – receive free food or assistance through existing meal programs.
The misguided policy that nearly made Rosa Martinez homeless is rearing its ugly head again. Rosa Martinez, a California woman whose disability benefits were stopped because the Social Security Administration mistook her for a Florida woman with the same name, was Justice in Aging’s lead Plaintiff in the case Martinez v. Astrue.
Imagine if there were a program that would help older adults living in poverty meet their basic needs: pay for rent, buy groceries, and stay safe and warm. Imagine if this same solution also helped people with disabilities of all ages. Sounds pretty powerful, right?
In celebration of May as Older Americans Month, we’re taking a deeper look at the multifaceted realm of aging: people, programs, and plans for the future. The first in the series focuses on what millennials (the generation following Gen X—with birthdates from the early 80s to the early aughts) need to know about aging. As it becomes harder to parse aging issues from national issues, more and more young people are taking a stake in the challenges facing older adults as shared challenges of navigating American life.
I had the good fortune of representing Justice in Aging at last week’s Aging in America conference in Chicago. The annual conference, hosted by the American Society on Aging, provides an excellent opportunity to connect with leaders in the field of and learn from experts about the latest developments in the field. Six things stood out for me about his year’s conference.
During this season of Jack Frost at the window and fires in the hearth, it’s time we sharpen our focus on the seniors who could be, quite literally, left in the cold. The challenges of navigating the winter months as a low-income senior are immense. For 6.3 million older adults in the United States, wintertime stretches the term “fixed income” into a reality of fixed poverty.