The New Age of Old Age
We’re looking at increasing poverty and homelessness among the elderly. Within the next 10 years, the population of the elderly homeless is expected to go up by more than 30 percent. The reason behind this? The nation is getting older, we’re living older longer, and the elderly are facing poverty at rates that we haven’t seen in decades.
In Massachusetts, our elders' income covers 60 percent of all living expenses. And a setback such as the death of a spouse or unexpected medical expenses could force an elder onto the street. With projections that poverty and homelessness among the elderly will only go up, does the state have theresources it needs to handle this? With talk of cutting entitement programs like Medicare and Social Security, what could the fate of the elderly be?
We want to hear from you. Do you have an older relative or friend who is really struggling to make ends meet? Will you have enough money in your old age? Is it time to move to a place where living expenses are lower? Tweet us, or weigh in on our Facebook page.
Ellen Bruce, director of the Gerontology Institute at the McCormack Graduate School at UMass Boston
Dr. Laura Goldman, director of geriatrics in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston Medical Center; associate professor of family medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine. (Boston Medical Center is the only hospital in the country finding permanent housing for homeless elders through their Elders Living at Home Program.)
Mark Hinderlie, chief executive of Hearth, Inc., a Boston agency committed to ending elder homelessness.