Saturday, May 2, 2009

Older American's Month - Elder Economic Security Initiative

am kicking off Older American’s Month to spread the importance of the Elder Economic Security Initiative.

Even though I am better off than most of my friends, my economic security is undermined by the present economy. The market drop over the past year, double the Medicare amount removed from my social security to my HMO, increased costs of local utilities and on and on. But compared to my friends I am rich and not eligible to apply for support programs.

My elderly friends live on minimum social security that is due to their career lower pay rates and/or less years in the workforce. They are struggling to choose among the necessities for heating, prescription drugs and food. Over and over again I hear if it were not for the 99 cent stores I could not eat through the month.

It is critical to support the Elder Economic Security Initiative. We must be realistic about the costs of senior living expenses and raise the Federal Poverty Level so that programs that use this measure to approve assistance fill the gap more appropriately. Right now there is no safety net. Some programs play ping pong with eligibility differences that confuse and deny needed healthcare.

My friends find themselves in an awkward position to postpone serious health concerns or manipulate the system in ways that they feel morally wrong.

We help and network with each other but it is not enough to quell the anger, anxiety and stress that each day brings. We must do more for our elderly women. America’s goal is economic security for all our elders and removes the present threshold of poverty.

Shirley Harlan
San Bernardino, CA 92406

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