Our oldest citizens need our help. Their plight is not a prediction. It’s real. And it’s now.
As you read this, more than 25 million Americans aged 60+ are economically insecure. And, according to a Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis study, 40 percent of today’s older middle class workers will live at or near poverty in retirement. Many of our aging friends, family and neighbors are struggling to pay their mortgage or rent, let alone their healthcare bills. They suffer from inadequate nutrition and lack of access to transportation. Any savings they have are dwindling, and no one wants to hire them for work.
This issue is magnified when you consider that we humans are older than we’ve ever been. For the first time in the history of the developed world, there are more of us over age 60 than under age 5. Women who reached age 65 in 2016 can expect to live to nearly 86 years old, and men to age 83. About 17% of the U.S. population is over 65 today and, in 10 years, that number will increase to nearly 21%.
It’s great to know that we’re living longer, but why aren’t we living better? The answer is simple – not enough of us in younger generations are focusing on the plight of our fastest-growing, and oldest, population.
The need is now, yet we’re not responding with the requisite urgency. According to Candid, when it comes to the most significant grants given by America’s largest foundations, less than 1% of the funds go to causes related to aging. Conversely, children and youth get more than 23% of those funds.
Those stats suggest that life gets less valuable as we grow older, but we all know that’s not true. There must be a way to arrive at a more equitable distribution of aid for our most vulnerable populations because living to be a senior should not mean dying without a dollar. Still, we only set aside 1% for their causes. Imagine if we could increase that number to 2%, 3% or even 4%.
As founder and chairman of Home Instead Senior Care – a business built around caring for our aging population – I feel obligated to sound the alarm. I hope you’ll join me and the entire Home Instead family by turning up the volume on one of the most significant needs of our time.
As we celebrate the 25th birthday of Home Instead Senior Care, we are striving to raise $2.5 million for senior causes funded through the Home Instead Senior Care Foundation. My wife, Lori, and I kicked it off with a personal $500,000 donation, and we will match an additional $1million that we hope will be given by others. You can make a donation by visiting www.Give65.org/25years, a Home Instead Senior Care Foundation program that has awarded grants in all 50 states and Canada.
More funds would mean more people realizing their goal of aging in place, something that’s a month-to-month struggle for many. According to Grantmakers in Aging, older adults are more likely than their younger counterparts to spend more than 30 percent of their income on their home. You shouldn’t have to worry about having a roof over your head as a you age. Increased aid would help put many minds at ease.
More funds would mean more transportation options. Seniors who don’t drive or have limited driving capabilities need more and better choices to get where they need to go. An AARP survey found that 22% of older drivers and 61% of older people who did not drive reported they missed something they wanted to do because of their transportation limitations. People should never miss doctor’s appointments and visits with family and friends simply because they don’t have a ride.
More funds would also mean more resources to combat problems like elder abuse and illnesses. More funds would mean more resources to help prevent serious issues like social isolation. And more funds would also mean more seniors could enjoy more life experiences – like attending community festivals and going to movies.
Money is one way to make a difference, but we hope reading this inspires you to care. It’s easy to do if you’re willing to invest a little time and effort. Give of yourself and spend time with a senior. For a list of small things you can do to have a big impact on the life of a senior, check out www.ImReadyToCare.com. Share your caring today and inspire other in the process.