Whoever said that growing older is a snap – must be a senior citizen who has “snapped!” With all the debates and rhetoric back and forth between the potential winner of the presidential election, we have heard little to nothing about the elderly in our nation.
We have heard all the promises made to every ethnic group, every other age group, every economic group, and the younger voters. It seems that the elderly, unlike in years of yore, are totally transparent and go unnoticed. Prior to the Social Security Act in 1938, when a person lived past their prime and earning potential, they either had to have had a goodly size bank account or had to depend on the benevolence of others – namely their family members.
In those days, the elderly were respected for their sacrifices, commitments, wisdom, and knowledge. Those younger in the family felt a strong bond with them and revered them for their status in the family. They felt they owed them a debt of gratitude. They often sought their advice. Not so much today.
With so many women in the workplace and who are not at home to even take care of their own children – the elders are mostly sent off somewhere to live in a strange place among strangers and at the mercy of low paid employees or state-run facilities. They lose their identity, their associations, their hobbies, their meaning for living and often a rapid decline in their health and safety.
However, today if seniors have prepared for their own future, they have many advantages – if they can afford it – like beautiful resort-like living or nice assisted hotel like living. But there are many more who are struggling day to day just to eat and pay for their medications. Many live in substandard housing and unable to pay for food, lights, and heat.
According to the “Journalist’s Resource,” the number of seniors is increasing rapidly among the population in America. “The number of senior citizens is on the rise: In 2010, there were 40.3 million people aged 65 and above, comprising 13% of the overall population. (This total is 12 times the number that it was in 1900 when this group constituted only 4.1% of the population.) By 2050, projections indicate the population over 65 will comprise 20.9% of the population.” For more information about government statistics about trends affecting seniors, you can find more information by clicking above.
While seniors are living longer and a few are living better – far too many fall into the poverty level after retirement. There has been the great fear among this group with the advent of “Obamacare; “as many fear for their very lives. They live in constant fear of having their meager Social Security checks decreased. While politicians pander to the younger generation – they bring fear to the hearts of the elderly. They seem to be shunned by those running for public office as being unimportant.
America is still a young nation as compared to the centuries-old countries in Europe but they are lagging far behind in elder care. More and more elders are feeling deserted by their families and their country. They do not even merit mention in the political process unless it is the threat to cut their Social Security and Medicare benefits. These two, unlike welfare, are not entitlements; but reimbursement for money they have invested and a return for the many years of hard work earning the money.
With all the new technology and computers, many seniors have been left behind because they did not grow up learning “computereese” in kindergarten. And because of their lack of technical skills, many are considered passé, old, useless, and a burden when they are the world’s best resource for wisdom, knowledge, skills, and moral fortitude.
Women used to revere the old recipes handed down from generation to generation and wanted to make good pie crust just like “Grandma” used to make. Today they buy frozen or look to the Internet for a quick and easy recipe. Few young men of today seek the advice of their “old fogey” grandfather. After all, what do they know about life today?
Ms. Clinton is seeking the votes of young women and supporting programs like Planned Parenthood, and attempting to empower women by promises like same pay for same work for women. However, she does not elaborate on anything regarding the rapidly growing needs of the elderly – both men and women.
Bernie Sanders wants to promise the moon and stars to the young college group for free. Free? How? Trump and the other Republican contenders only seem to want to bash each other with negativity and have had nothing to say to encourage lifetime voters of an older age. They forget that they vote as well.
Not to say all elders are suffering today – many are not suffering as they now have time to travel, to pursue additional interests they could not while working forty hours a week. Many are doing volunteer work and many are raising their grandchildren for various reasons. These are usually the “younger” elders, but those who are in the twilight of their years with little or no resources are hurting badly. Those of middle age today are fast approaching their elder years and can barely make ends meet by working every day; but still have no additional savings to shore up their elder years. In the coming years, there will be many more elders living in poverty.
In 1978 there were 27.7 unmarried registered women voters; in 2014, there were 56.8 in 2014 and increase of 29 million according to Voter Participation Voter Center. Many of these women are unmarried mothers and account for a huge portion of the welfare monies. Candidates know that groups like this vote their pocketbooks.
Voting and Registration Census of 2014 post these findings. Of those eighteen and older of registered voters 41.9 percent for combined men and women; 40.8 percent for men and 43.0 percent of women actually voted. For that same period of time, registered voters over 75 years old, 56.9 both men and women voted; 61.6 for men alone and 53.6 for women 75 years or older. Older voters know the past – and hope for the future – while younger voters are interested in what gains them the most in the present. You can follow the link above for additional percentages based on race and other factors.
There have been organizations that tout their support for the elderly such as AARP but have taken to other ventures such as selling insurance or endorsing other companies. However, there are still other organizations that bolster the joy of living to an older age – such as “Growing Bolder.”
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