Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandfamilies 1: Grappling with the cost of addiction, By Ella Nilsen, July 1, 2017, Concord Monitor: “In Helene Lorden’s living room, a big, inviting armchair is parked in front of the television. But the 58-year-old grandmother of five rarely gets to sit down and put her feet up. Like thousands of other grandparents in the state, Lorden has custody of her five grandchildren – ages 10 to 18. She has been raising them for over a decade…”

Social Security and Student Loan Debt

The disturbing trend of people losing Social Security benefits to student debt, By Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, December 20, 2016, Washington Post: “To recoup student-loan debt, the government is leaving people who rely on Social Security with benefits that fall below federal poverty guidelines, the Government Accountability Office said Tuesday.  The number of older Americans defaulting on education loans has steadily increased in recent decades, as many have returned to college or co-signed loans for family members. Unpaid debt has resulted in the government garnishing the benefits of 114,000 people age 50 and older in the past year, more than half of whom were receiving Social Security disability rather than retirement income, the GAO report said…”

Older Workers and Low-wage Jobs

The new low-wage reality for older Americans, By Aimee Picchi, November 8, 2016, CBS News: “Thanks to economic instability and an eroding pension system, Americans are working longer than ever. But it turns out there’s a twist in how they’re working: New research shows workers older than 55 increasingly hold low-wage jobs.  The findings may add to the anxiety that haunts many workers about how — or if — they’ll have the financial resources to retire. In September, slightly more than 27 percent of full-time workers over 55 years old held low-wage jobs, compared with 19 percent of younger workers, according to Teresa Ghilarducci, professor of economics at The New School for Social Research…”

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Why more grandparents are raising children, By Teresa Wiltz, November 2, 2016, Stateline: “The number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren is going up and increasingly it’s because their own kids are addicted to heroin or prescription drugs, or have died from an overdose. For some, it’s a challenge with little help available.  In 2005, 2.5 million children were living with grandparents who were responsible for their care. By 2015, that number had risen to 2.9 million.  Child welfare officials say drug addiction, especially to opioids, is behind much of the rise in the number of grandparents raising their grandchildren, just as it was during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and ’90s. An estimated 2.4 million people were addicted to opioids at last count…”

Medicaid and Long-Term Care

Medicaid safety net stretched to pay for seniors’ long-term care, By Anna Gorman, August 3, 2016, National Public Radio: “Donna Nickerson spent her last working years as the activity and social services director at a Turlock, Calif., nursing home. But when she developed Alzheimer’s disease and needed that kind of care herself, she and her husband couldn’t afford it: A bed at a nearby home cost several thousand dollars a month. ‘I’m not a wealthy man,’ said Nickerson’s husband Mel, a retired California State University-Stanislaus professor. ‘There’s no way I could pay for that.’  About half of all people turning 65 today will need daily help as they age, either at home or in nursing homes. Such long-term care will cost an average of $91,100 for men and double that for women, because they live longer…”

Retirement Security

Women more likely than men to face poverty during retirement, Associated Press, July 10, 2016, Chicago Tribune: “During their working years, women tend to earn less than men, and when they retire, they’re more likely to live in poverty. These are women who raised children and cared for sick and elderly family members, often taking what savings and income they do have and spending it on things besides their own retirement security. The National Institute on Retirement Security, a nonprofit research center, reports that women are 80 percent more likely than men to be impoverished at age 65 and older. Women age 75 to 79 are three times more likely…”

Aging Homeless Population

Old and on the street: The graying of America’s homeless, By Adam Nagourney, May 31, 2016, New York Times: “They lean unsteadily on canes and walkers, or roll along the sidewalks of Skid Row here in beat-up wheelchairs, past soiled sleeping bags, swaying tents and piles of garbage. They wander the streets in tattered winter coats, even in the warmth of spring. They worry about the illnesses of age and how they will approach death without the help of children who long ago drifted from their lives. ‘It’s hard when you get older,’ said Ken Sylvas, 65, who has struggled with alcoholism and has not worked since he was fired in 2001 from a meatpacking job. ‘I’m in this wheelchair. I had a seizure and was in a convalescent home for two months. I just ride the bus back and forth all night.’ The homeless in America are getting old…”

Elder Poverty – California

Poverty rate jumps among California seniors, By Claudia Buck and Phillip Reese, March 26, 2016, Sacramento Bee: “The older you are, the poorer you get.  For a growing number of California seniors living on the edges of poverty, that’s the uncomfortable reality.  In the Sacramento region, the number of residents 65 and older living at or below the federal poverty line – $11,400 for a single individual – roughly doubled from 2005 to 2014, according to a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. census data. That means 28,000 seniors, or 9 percent of the region’s elderly population, are officially considered poor.  Statewide, the number of impoverished residents age 65 and older increased by 85 percent, to roughly 520,000, between 1999 and 2014, more than double the rate of population growth among the elderly…”

Elder Poverty – California

UCLA study finds million-plus elderly Californians in poverty, By Dan Walters, August 31, 2015, Sacramento Bee: “More than 300,000 elderly Californians are officially poor, as measured by the federal government, but their numbers triple to more than 1 million when the ‘hidden poor’ are counted, according to a new study from UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research…”

SNAP Recipients and Benefit Renewal – New York City

Navigating a bureaucratic maze to renew food stamp benefits, By Winnie Hu, July 23, 2015, New York Times: “Three months after Delbert Shorter’s food stamps were cut off, he still does not know why. At first, he thought that his $180 a month allotment from the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly called SNAP or food stamps, was just late. But as one week turned into another, Mr. Shorter, 78, who lives in a fifth-floor walk-up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, grew more anxious, and hungrier. He stockpiled canned foods from a church food pantry, borrowed $60 from his home health aide and turned to a senior center to help get his food stamps back. ‘It’s very hard,’ he said. ‘If I knew it was really going to come, I would not have to worry about the next meal.’  Even as New York City has embarked on a campaign to increase access to food stamps in recent months, Mr. Shorter’s plight illustrates the barriers that remain for those who are already enrolled…”

Baby Boomers and Food Insecurity

8 million Baby Boomers face hunger in USA, report finds, By Lori Grisham, July 9, 2015, USA Today: “At least 8 million Baby Boomers are facing hunger in the USA and may be more vulnerable to food insecurity than their older peers, according to areport released Thursday from the food bank network Feeding America and funded by AARP Foundation. ‘Hunger is an invisible problem that millions of older Americans battle silently every day,’ AARP Foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson said in a statement. “We have found that the ‘youngest old’ tend to suffer the most, often having to skimp on meals or skip them altogether because they can¹t afford them,’ she wrote.  The ‘youngest old’ are Baby Boomers or adults from the ages of 50 to 64…”

SNAP and Low-Income Seniors

USDA wants low-income seniors to use their food stamps for fruits and veggies, By Fredrick Kunkle, April 7, 2015, Washington Post: “The federal government is expanding a program to create incentives for low-income people, particularly older Americans, to buy more fresh fruit and vegetables using food stamps. The U.S. Agriculture Department has joined with businesses, state agencies and nonprofits such as AARP to draw in low-income elders who may not get enough food or the right food to eat.  The program has given dollar-for-dollar matches, increased the number places that accept food stamps for payment, including farmers markets, and gone into grocery stores to educate elders about good nutrition. It’s a program that is being watched in the District, where a significant number of people who are 65 and older live in poverty…”

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

How a Milo man is raising grandson after the death of wife, loss of income, By Sandy Butler and Luisa Deprez, March 28, 2014, Bangor Daily News: “Wendall Hall is one of thousands of grandparents in Maine who find themselves as primary caregivers for their grandchildren, long after they thought their parenting years were over. But Wendall, 55, has faced more difficult times than most, after the death of his wife and the loss of nearly all his income…”

Complex Families

As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says, By Tara Bahrampour, November 5, 2013, Washington Post: “As the number of children living with grandparents has risen in recent decades, the profile of caregiver grandparents has also evolved into a more diverse tapestry, with grandparents filling in the gaps in increasingly nontraditional family structures, according to a report released Tuesday. In particular, as rates rise for divorce and remarriage, single parenting, and other nontraditional family structures, older Americans have been stepping in to help their offspring with childcare, said the study, which was conducted by US 2010, a research project on changes in American society funded by Brown University and the Russell Sage Foundation, a New York-based social science research center…”

Social Security Benefits

Social Security raise to be lowest in years, By Stephen Ohlemacher, October 13, 2013, USA Today: “For the second straight year, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect historically small increases in their benefits come January. Preliminary figures suggest a benefit increase of roughly 1.5%, which would be among the smallest since automatic increases were adopted in 1975, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.Next year’s raise will be small because consumer prices, as measured by the government, haven’t gone up much in the past year…”

Senior Poverty – Philadelphia

Steep rise seen in deep poverty among elderly, By Alfred Lubrano, October 9, 2013, Philadelphia Inquirer: “If Ivy Maude Jones could still work, life would be easier. Cleaning houses, caring for the sick, toiling in corporate cafeterias – Jones always had money coming in, right up until the North Philadelphia woman retired two years ago at age 74, when her heart and thyroid conspired to end her clock-punching days. But like many American elderly, Jones is now struggling without a paycheck. Her tiny pension and Social Security income can’t save her from a crushing poverty that could soon have her living on the streets…”

Grandparents as Caregivers to Children

More grandparents serving as primary caregivers to children, By Emily Alpert, September 4, 2013, Los Angeles Times: “The number of grandparents caring for children surged during the economic downturn amid financial woes. Military service and other causes have also contributed to the need. As American parents have grappled with financial peril and other woes over the last decade, grandparents have stepped in to help. Grandparents were the main caregivers for more than 3 million children in 2011 — a 20% increase from the turn of the millennium, the Pew Research Center reported Wednesday…”

Aging Immigrant Population – New York City

Immigrant struggles compounded by old age, By Kirk Semple, July 25, 2013, New York Times: “After retiring from his job as a security guard in 2011, Wahid Ali spent his days struggling against tedium. Speaking only limited English and with few friends, he had little to do and mainly stayed at home, a small rented room in an illegal basement apartment in Coney Island. But the tougher fight was financial. Mr. Ali, 78, had meager savings, and his wife had not worked since they immigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 2006. So the couple depended on his monthly Social Security check of less than $600…”

China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study

  • Aging Chinese face a bleak picture, By Tom Orlik, May 30, 2013, Wall Street Journal: “China’s elderly are poor, sick and depressed in alarming numbers, according to the first large-scale survey of those over 60, an immense challenge for Beijing and one of the greatest long-term vulnerabilities of the Chinese economy. The survey of living conditions for China’s 185 million elderly paints a bleak picture that defies the efforts of the government to build what it calls a ‘harmonious society,’ one dedicated to human welfare rather than simply economic growth. Of the generation that built China’s economic boom, 22.9%—or 42.4 million—live in poverty with consumption of less than 3,200 yuan a year ($522). The fear of being old and poor, which prompts many Chinese to stash away their earnings, also cuts against another of Beijing’s priorities: to rebalance the economy toward stronger consumption…”
  • New portrait of China’s 185 million seniors, By Charles Riley, May 31, 2013, CNNMoney: “The study, with a sample size of almost 18,000, offers a rare snapshot of China’s rapidly aging population. China currently has more than 185 million citizens over the age of 60. The elderly now account for around 12% of China’s population, a figure that is predicted to swell to 34% by 2050. And significant challenges are ahead. At present, 32% of elderly Chinese reported having poor health, 38% said they were disabled, 23% are below the poverty line and 40% show symptoms of depression…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – New York City

Many Staten Islanders in need miss out on food stamps, By Judy L. Randall, May 13, 2013, Staten Island Advance: “The way Saeeda Usmani sees it, her participation in the federal food stamp program has been a godsend. At 71, the retired nurse from Stapleton couldn’t afford to maintain her medically mandated gluten-free diet, which can be pricey, without assistance. As it is, because Ms. Usmani tires easily, she goes to the supermarket only every three weeks and carefully husbands the fresh fruits and vegetables that she purchases with the $173 she receives each month from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), the current name for food stamps. But Ms. Usmani is something of a rarity among SNAP-eligible low-income Staten Islanders 60 and older: Only 23 percent participate in the program here, the lowest percentage among the five boroughs…”