By 2060, almost a quarter of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older. Older adults are at higher risk for chronic health problems like diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, 1 in 3 older adults fall each year, and falls are a leading cause of injury for this age group. Older adults also face issues with health care costs, physical aging/assistance, financial security, loneliness, and elder abuse.
Anna’s Place Mission helps cultivate an atmosphere for senior adults to continue to learn, to grow spiritually, and to be seen as a valued resource for the youth and community as a whole. "1Drop" Bags are delivered on a quarterly basis and contents vary according to the season and resources available.
Older adults visit the doctor and stay in the hospital more often than other age groups. Medicare helps cover some health care costs for seniors, however most are left to pay for about half of their medical bills on their own, which can cost thousands of dollars each year.
Additionally, Medicare does not cover the cost of long term care such as home care or nursing home care, or for mental health services. Residential nursing homes are still a primary option for seniors who need around-the-clock care. Nursing homes are not only extremely costly, they also often have a reputation for providing substandard care. 40% of African American and Hispanic seniors interviewed believe that they will not get adequate care in a nursing home.
Many nursing homes struggle with under-staffing issues, which can lead to neglect or abuse of the residents. Because residents are often in poor physical or mental condition, they can do little to help themselves if they are being mistreated or not properly cared for.
Mobility and dexterity naturally decline as we age and everyday tasks become more difficult to complete. As a consequence, senior adults may find that they are unable to participate in social activities, or even to care for themselves.
Seniors also suffer from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, which affects about 10 percent of people over age 65, increasing to 32 percent of people 85 and older.
Due to physical or mental health conditions, about two-thirds of all people 65 or older need assistance with at least one “daily living” activity such as bathing or preparing a meal.
Declining health can be difficult for many older adults to accept, as they wonder how long they will be able to do the things they enjoy and fear losing their independence.
More support is needed to enable elderly people not only to live independently through products and programs which focus on safety, balance, fitness, and mobility but also to ensure they can continue to thrive as an individual.
Overall, we are living longer but with inflation, senior adults are finding their retirement dollars are not going as far. Unexpected medical expenses can wipe out your savings. And if seniors are willing and able to work, the opportunities are not there, which means once they hit poverty level they are more likely to stay there.
Many older adults receive social security benefits that help supplement their income. However, two-thirds of those who survive solely on social security payments live below the official poverty level.
Elder abuse is an intentional act or failure to act that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult. An older adult is someone age 60 or older. The abuse occurs at the hands of a caregiver or a person the elder trusts.
There are stereotypes about elderly people, which lead to isolation and marginalization in a lot of communities. We need to reframe our view of senior adults to help them to maintain a sense of identity and self-esteem. This will benefit the community as we are able to learn from their knowledge, experience, and wisdom.
Seniors tend to have fewer opportunities for social engagement than younger age groups mainly due to retirement, children moving away, friends and/or spouse passes away, or they become shut-in.
According to the most recent U.S. Census 28% of people aged 65 and older lived alone, with numbers estimated to be much higher now. Studies show seniors who live alone often experience social isolation and chronic feelings of loneliness, which cause depression, illness, and even death.
1) Educate Yourself
Familiarize yourself with your state and local senior citizen support agencies
2) Visit An Assisted Living Facility
Points of Light suggests you spend some quality time with someone who might not get a lot of visitors by planning a visit (or even better, regular visits) to an assisted living facility. Not sure what to do? Bring along a board game, a care package, a movie or a home-baked treat. You can also consider this time an opportunity to listen and learn. Hearing from perspectives other than your own not only helps broaden your horizons and make you a more educated person but it also helps seniors who are sharing their knowledge to feel heard and valued.
Seniors worry about the same things anyone under the age of 65 does — money, friendships, the stress of day-to-day life. They just might not have anyone to discuss their concerns with.
4) Advocate for Change
Be an advocate for change. Support initiatives such as
We also need solutions that include more affordable housing and living wages. We need to ensure everyone has access to affordable health and mental health care services, transportation to work and school, quality daycare, and education.
It is up to us individually and collectively to tell our national, state, and local governments that the time is now to address laws, programs, and policies that perpetuate homelessness and marginalize those in need.
If you are 18 years or older, make sure you are registered to vote! Ask the candidates their stance on solutions to address poverty and homelessness.