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Senior Hunger

With Wade Goodwyn in for Tom Ashbrook.

Hunger among the elderly – it’s widespread and getting worse. What’s the solution?

 

Junior LB David Allen joined teammates and coaches from UCLA in an effort to give back to the Bay Area community and fight hunger by visiting Glide Memorial Church & Kitchen on Friday, December 30, 2011. (AP)

Junior LB David Allen joined teammates and coaches from UCLA in an effort to give back to the Bay Area community and fight hunger by visiting Glide Memorial Church & Kitchen on Friday, December 30, 2011. (AP)

Senior hunger in America.  It’s insidious and it’s growing, quietly. That’s because seniors are humiliated and don’t want to be a bother and want to stay in their homes so they go hungry without making a fuss.

But advocates for the elderly are raising the alarm. An army of baby boomers who’ve saved nowhere near enough given how long they’re going to live is marching toward a hungry retirement.

This hour, On Point: the heartbreaking story of doing without after you’ve given your all in the land of plenty.

-Wade Goodwyn

Guests

Enid Borden, incoming-president and CEO of the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger.

James Ziliack,  Director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky.

Seth Hancock, filmmaker, his upcoming documentary “Leftovers” explores the topic of senior hunger in America.

From The Reading List

Huffington Post “We live in the greatest nation on Earth. We live in the land of opportunity. We live in a land of abundance. We also live in a land that has oftentimes been blind to “the other side of the story.” Not everyone in this nation has been lucky. Not everyone shares in the abundance.”

Columbia Journalist Review “The press has shown only sporadic interest in the farm bill, a vast, important piece of legislation that must be considered every five years and is now moving through Congress. As CJR put it in an editorial two years ago, when discussions on the 2012 version got under way, the bill.”

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  • Doug Giebel

    From personal experience, I know the problems faced by the elderly (including myself as the years pile up). Most elected officials and others with power over those in need have little or no experience trying to get by — especially as health and financial issues make getting by more difficult. Surviving on a low amount of Social Security is nearly impossible, and the usual Cost of Living “increase” is not related to the actual increase in the cost of living. Few politicians these days spend time with the elderly, the poor, the homeless — as Bobby Kennedy did in 1968. Today the pols’ appetite is for raking in truckloads of campaign cash and are openly hostile to the poor who supposedly deserve to be poor. Throw Grandma from the train. Cut food stamps and help for the needy of all ages. Bring back — and PRIVATIZE — The Poorhouse.

    Doug Giebel
    Big Sandy, Montana

    • AC

      this is an interesting point, esp since the ‘cost of living’ increase on the price of food is predicted to rise very quickly due to the inclement weather..
      do you know how, and how often, that is set?

      • Doug Giebel

         I meant, being “ironic,” that our politicians generally seem to believe the poor are useless loafers, deserve what their poverty, etc. Those who note that Social Security was aimed to supplement SAVINGS overlooks how things have changed since the 1930s, and many are not, though no personal fault, unable to save, period.
        Doug

        • Tina

          Plus, nowadays more and more corporations expect people to access some portion of their services on line.  It is very expensive to upkeep a computer — even the ink and paper are now costs that have fallen to us often.  Just try to go get all the stuff you left “on line” without printing if you ever get audited by the IRS!  This hasn’t happened to me, but I have enough imagination to be able to picture what a nightmare it could be.  When I tried to print out just one month’s bank statement for use with my tax form recently, low and behold, the copy of the check — with the actual information about my deductible —  was NOT included in the printout!  There IS a digital divide and there are problems on both sides of it.  On the side of those WITH a digital household interface, the cost is no small matter and might represent exactly what people have to cut back on to afford food.  Will they always be able to?

          • Wm. James from Missouri

            You are correct to say that printing cost are too high. When we buy our printers we need to trade up to a model that will reduce our long term per page cost. This is a good personal investment!

      • Don_B1

        Social Security applies (or not) in January of each year an increase based on the increase in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) which is calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and is based on the prices of household consumer goods.

        The problem for the elderly is that their purchases are not statistically the same as those of the average household, particularly as their wealth is lower than average. Thus because food and energy are volatile, and make up a bigger proportion of their household expenditures, their components cost the elderly more proportionately, so the CPI adjustment may not reflect their increased costs of living.

      • JGC

        food price increase projected to be 3% to 4% next year…

    • William

       Social Security was never designed to support people in their retirement years.

      • jimino

        But it WAS intended to augment the fixed benefit retirement plans that were once in the not too distant past held by a vast majority of working Americans.  Of course, that risk was offloaded onto the least capable with the advent of the 401(k), so now the vast majority of working Americans will indeed need to rely on SS for support.

        • William

          The key part of the plan was augment a person’s own savings and investment for their retirement. That’s it.

          • Che’ Riviera

            What should happen to those who fail to save enough, for whatever reason?  This is an important question.

          • William

            There was a famous essay on the “forgotten man” written by a Yale professor back around 1915 or so. The problem with taking from one person and giving to another just does not work out very well in the long term.

          • Stillin

             When everything costs more, people average people cannot keep up, there is no SAVINGS/RETIREMENT  to augment. Right or wrong, if you’re struggling to stay in the game, chances are you don’t have savings or investments. Nobody I know does and I am a teacher, master’s degree, going on 19 years of teaching.

          • William

             That is something which previous generations faced too.

          • Stillin

             Yes, here is my plan. IF I can get my pension, 7 more years I will use it and what I can get from social security to help all my kids, 3. They will never catch up. That’s IF I can pay my student loans off. At 54 it looks a little daunting to me, I am getting tired. I am in perfect health, knock on wood, don’t smoke or drink, but the STRESS of worrying WILL I make it 7 more years, CAN I help my kids, my sister etc that stress could put me in the grave whole tomorrow!!!! I bought a cheap old cool home, I can, I know how to scrimp if I have to, valuable skills.

      • J__o__h__n

        People used to have pensions.  Thanks job creators for ending those.

    • Tina

      And you know that movement to get us out of using cash?!!!  If that happens, we won’t have long to wait before we are paying interest even on our OWN money!!  Cash will be privatized!!

      Remember how we should have seen cheap prices and said, “beware”?!!  Well, we need to beware of convenience, too!

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    I would like the readers to consider that over these last 30 plus years, since Regan killed the Unions, surviving has gotten tougher for all working people not just the unionized. As someone who worked in the food industry for some 30 years for different companies, I can assure you that some of the biggest box retailers are a part of the problem. These people dictate prices to the manufacturers and force them with various techniques to cut their profit margins. At first you might think this is a good thing, lower prices, right ? What you don’t realize is that eventually this eliminates smaller manufacturers and thereby, competition that would have otherwise occurred, competition for prices and wage rates also ! ( More factories, mean greater demand for labor and thereby higher labor rates. ) Quick example, I worked for a company that was eventually forced out of business by this pricing fiasco. When I started working for this original company back in 1975, I was earning about $4.75 per hour, this was good money for labor at that time. Further more, they had a product that sold for 10 Cents per unit. As time when on my company was bought out and absorbed by a larger manufacturer ( after we took a 20 percent pay cut to pay for our severance, etc.. ) When I quit in 1997, that same product was selling for more than 1 dollar per unit . I can assure you that I was not making $47.50 per hour, that is , 10 times more. However, I was producing considerably more ! The inability of unions to capture a share of profits results in a lessening of money that flows to local neighborhoods and all the little guys that might benefit from my making more. So now we have a situation in which grandma has no support system, because the people around her do not have any money or equity !

    _By the way, did you know that many of these cheap private label brands are made by the same companies, in the same plants as the more expensive brands ? But these cheaper brands often are not required to show the Union Label. Time to speak up, time to look for the Union Label.

    • Tina

      Please!  Keep saying this over and over!  

      This is one part of your piece that I really don’t think most Americans know to their core, yet should:

      “What you don’t realize is that eventually this eliminates smaller manufacturers and thereby, competition that would have otherwise occurred, competition for prices and wage rates also ! ( More factories, mean greater demand for labor and thereby higher labor rates. ) ”

      People need to understand this; thank you!!

  • Stillin

    Here’s who feeds Dad. I cook and bring some over, my sister flies in and cooks and freezes it, his best friend brings over food from across the street, his neighbor cooks and sends it over, one of my other sisters has a pizza delivered twice a month. He is in his 80′s, I don’t count the numbers with age. 

    • Che’ Riviera

      Not all the elderly have such wonderful family and friends as does your dad.

    • Ben

       How nice for your dad. From what you write, it seems he is both fortunate to have caring children and neighbors, as well as affluent ones (having someone fly in to prepare meals would be an extravagance beyond reckoning for most of us in this country). If your comment was meant to imply that your lucky family’s situation is some sort of example or measure for those less fortunate, then let me tell you very clearly: the overwhelming majority of people in the United States are NOT this fortunate (and never have been). When we reach the point where the fortunate few in this country are happy to see help given to those less fortunate, then we will once again be a strong and moral nation.

      • Stillin

         The one that flies in, flies in about  times a year as a retired single person with no kids. The rest of us in the family live dollar to dollar like a lot of people. My comment was straight up this what we do. We have a small town, people on my street know each other and help each other. The one that flies in is resented by half the family because she is so cheap . The other half fawn over her waiting for her money. fun eh?

  • Che’ Riviera

    I won’t even bother with political ideology.

    America is the richest, most powerful nation on Earth.  That anyone go without food or shelter or medicine, especially children or the elderly, is a mark of shame on our society.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    This is a sad state of affairs: Instead of waging a war on poverty, Republicans are waging a war on the poor.

    Clearly all the poor are evil, lazy freeloaders, including 16.4 million children (who make up about 45% of them) but especially the elderly! Let’s cut taxes on our wealthy job creators and offset the loss in revenue by taxing the elderly for living longer than God intended. We should also privatize charity… let’s divert public funds to the Morman Church… they’ll know how to use those funds responsibly and efficiently… perhaps they can outsource charity and save us a bundle?

    The Republican party has become the meanest, most callous, hypocritical, nonsensical and socially irresponsible party that I can remember in my life. Moral family values? Yeah right! They complain about the poor asking what government can do for them while they have systematically employed the government to enrich themselves while they literally weaken America financially and socially by fostering hatred and distrust. They have speculated the cost of living ever higher, and increased poverty as they squeeze the little guy to realize more and more profit for themselves. Welcome to the Incorporated States of Americorp: a kinder, gentler nation with fine moral family values!

    • Che’ Riviera

      “Clearly all the poor are evil, lazy freeloaders…”

      And even they deserve food, shelter, and medicine in my humble opinion.  I guess I am just some sort of sap.

      • guest

        Pssst…look up irony.

    • Akilez Castillo

      GOP can pay for the war for 10 years and cannot even feed the American elderly and the children of this country. The GOP spent and use the MEDICARE FUNDS to fuel their war in Iraq.

      The elderly who paid their dues already cannot even get a LITTLE HELP from the government.

      How can we do this to the people who made America a great country.

       

    • William

       Obama called people that don’t pay for their own medical insurance free loaders. Is he one of those Republicans?

      • nj_v2

        Citation? Source? Link?

        Otherwise…Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        • William

           Fingers on the keyboard, type in Obama+free riders, ready, enter, Wham!..Reality bits huh?….

      • Don_B1

        That was for those who CAN AFFORD to pay for insurance, not those with incomes too low to afford it.

        What is really sick is that you really knew that but could not resist taking a cheap shot.

        • con law flunky

           Which raises another point.   If those on food stamps ( what is it now…50%?) can’t afford a loaf of bread, who’s going to pay for their health insurance?

          • Yorkcountygirl

             the obscenely rich

        • William

           Why is it we can’t say anything about Obama? Despite the fact that he said “free riders”? He said it. Pelosi said it. It’s a fact.

          • Don_B1

            It helps to make what you say relevant. If I hear you say s**t, it isn’t relevant, nor necessarily true that you meant that your cousin ate it if i said you did. You have to get what Obama actually said in context to complain and have the rest of the world accept the possibility that you are right.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

         Clearly you don’t know what the intent of the ACA is… if he ever said that… could he have been quoting Romney?  :^))… he was referring to those who can afford it and don’t pay, wind up in the ER who we pay for… kind of like driving a car without auto-insurance. Moot point as insurance has become nearly unaffordable as insurance companies and hospitals have gamed the system for years…. and now we have an imperfect ACA thanks to lobbyists.

        • William

           He said it, so did Pelosi.

    • Tina

      Excellent post!  Thanks!

  • jefe68

    Just wait when the Ayn Rand devotes, such a Rep. Paul Ryan start to gain more power and are setting the budget.
    Social Security was started to stave off this very problem in the 30′s. Now the regressive GOP party want’s to go back to a time when the elderly and those living in poverty suffered in ways most of us now could not imagine.

    • notafeminista

      Oh please.  People today live in poverty you can’t imagine.  That’s why you want someone else’s money to pay for it.

      The narrative of the Left is false.

      • Che’ Riviera

        Yup, you got me.  I want your money.  Yours and an extra 4% on the marginal rate above $250,000 per year.  The people at the top are doing TOO well, and their taxes need to be increased and REDISTRIBUTED for the common good.  I don’t know if it is fair or not, and I’m sure some 1%ers will renounce their citizenship and resettle in some favorable Central American country.  Belize seems to be a popular outpost to run away to with your wealth.

        Call it class warfare if you want.  Sooner or later the non 1%ers who vote Republican will pull their heads out of their butts and vote for their own self interests.  Higher taxes, better schools, universal healthcare, and a real safety net will result.  The rich will still be rich, just slightly less so.

        • William

           Did not work for the USSR, EU is falling apart because of the same master plan so what makes you think it will work here?

          • jefe68

            So you’re advocating that we let elderly folks go hungry?

          • William

            Are you advocating the elderly are all broke?

          • Che’ Riviera

            You’re alternative is Laissez Faire capitalism?  No thanks.  I’d rather see what happens if we stick it to the 1%.  They say it will ruin us, I’m betting they are lying.

          • William

            FDR tried “sticking” it to the 1 percent and that just  made the depression the Great Depression. He was knocked down to size when he had to beg them to bail him out going into WW II.

          • TFRX

            Just keep peddling that plop about the Great Depression.

          • Don_B1

            You need to start writing novels to exploit your imagination.

          • Che’ Riviera

            A healthy part of why the USSR failed was its attempt to keep up with us in military spending.

          • William

             Well, actually, Communism was the reason the USSR failed.

          • Che’ Riviera

            I dunno, Germany, France, Scandinavia, and the Low Countries seem to be doing okay.  Germany, with its free higher ed and universal healthcare is bailing out the EU.

          • William

            There is really nothing free in life. Someone in Germany is paying for the “free higher ed and medical care”. Norway does pretty well with it’s oil industry which we could copy too.

          • Don_B1

            All the Germans are paying for those things and the economy is producing MORE for EVERYONE, thus making EVERYONE wealthier.

            But the Germans do not realize that they (and the rest of the EU and the world) will lose big time if they fail to support the creation of a stable euro.

          • Don_B1

            False story again! The EU (except for Greece) is not in trouble because of its “welfare state”; it is in trouble because it adopted a common currency (the euro) without having some form of common fiscal government.

            The private banks of Germany and France (and others) over-lent to the banks of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland (and Greece) to use to drive housing bubbles (much like the big “investment banks” in the U.S. did here) which created wage inflation and a housing bubble (in Spain, particularly). When the financial crisis hit in 2008, the housing bubble burst, causing unemployment to rise and and the tax revenue to fall.

            Before the 2008 crisis, Spain’s budget was in SURPLUS, Italy’s budget, while in a rather large deficit, had a primary surplus (all expenditures except debt payment were exceeded by revenue), and was DECLINING from previous years. Ireland was the hero of all the conservatives for its “sensible” policies.

            You either accept all the “austerity hawks” at face value (not a good idea) and thus are profoundly ignorant yourself or are trolling this site to sow ignorance.

            The motivation for “austerity” at this point in the economic trajectory is to set up conditions where the current social safety net can be severely cut decimating the middle and lower classes.

          • William

            If austerity is borrowing and spending more money, then yes, it will fail. If austerity is living within your means, reducing the welfare state, reducing government regulations, encouraging growth then the economy will recover. This is not the first economic mess the world has found itself in and will not be the last. Eventually, common sense takes over and people realize that working, paying their own way in life is not so tough. The demise the the EU and it’s welfare state is not something to lose any sleep over.

          • Don_B1

            So you think to win by reversing the definitions? That would be the only way you could; but it means that you “win” by losing.

            What are you going to do when Europe’s euro fails and the people turn to radical right or left governments, or both? Do you think that will make the U.S. more prosperous?

            Remember, the EU is one of our biggest trading partners after Canada.

          • William

             The failed idea of the EU only hurts us on the long term. We need stable trading partners and the EU is not stable.

          • Don_B1

            The “idea” of the EU is not failed though its imperfect implementation may fail if Germany cannot see its way to support the ECB as a “Bank of Last Resort.”

      • jefe68

        You have a comprehension problem. I was alluding to the 1930′s when SS was enacted. The poverty I mentioned was about that period, not now.
        However did you not read the lede in for this show?
         
        Hunger among the elderly – it’s widespread and getting worse. What’s the solution?

        Senior hunger in America.  It’s insidious and it’s growing, quietly.

        The other thing that I find insidious, is people of your ilk who will spend this morning denying that this is an issue. The level of mendacity here is quite something.

        • Don_B1

          More likely it is a refusal to let anyone here see that the idea is comprehended, as that would lead to a losing position.

  • J__o__h__n

    We need to keep the ethanol scam going despite the extremely poor corn crop which will raise meat prices. 

    • Don_B1

      It will raise more than just meat prices; all you have to look at is the content label of almost any processed food you buy and corn fructose or a similar item is on the list.

      The good thing is that some of that fructose will be removed; in a better world, no alternate or at least less sweeteners will be used, which would be for the betterment of all of us if we learned to like less-sweet food. Thirty to forty years ago, processed food manufacturers did not test foods in New England because they did not like foods as sweet as the rest of the country. To our great loss, New Englanders have lost those old “Yankee likes.”

      There used to be a saying that “nobody ever lost a pound by using artificial sweeteners” because they learned to like even more sweetness in their food and used sugar in those other items or selected other items with more sugar.

      • J__o__h__n

        That’s interesting about sweet foods and New England. 

        • Stillin

           Yea I noticed in the the Caribbean, the ghetto part not the commercial part, that their sweets are not very sweet. Different taste and they do not like sugar either…even their candies tasted odd but good. ( homemade)

  • notafeminista

    While folks are standing around rending their garments over the image of Grandma homeless in street that fuels their false narrative (laughable in itself, the ACA has pretty much ensured that old age will be [in the current vernacular] “unsustainable”)…two things come to mind…

    1)The always timely and snarkily funny Garry Trudeau poking fun at then President Carter creating an “Office of Symbolism” – starting with the President’s cardigan.  Every time the  Left starts gnashing their teeth about the noble poor, I wonder if there really isn’t an Office of Symbolism upon which they can draw in order to emotionally manipulate any situation the minute someone asks how they intend to pay for their grand “helping” plan. 

    2)The correlation between higher numbers of people ‘on the dole’ and expanding eligibility.  Why here just in the last week or so, seems like I’ve read something about removing the work requirement from welfare…..?  Sound familiar to anyone..?  Shucks, why don’t we just send out checks to everyone every month because we can?  Surely every member of the population of the US can come up with some condition that will meet eligibility for receiving unlimited, permanent government “help”, no?

    jefe68 …it’s “devotees”

    • jefe68

      Your really are a piece of work.The lack of compassion you have for people is astounding. This is not about able bodied folks on welfare.

      Are so caught up in your own self centered little world that the subject of elderly, whom by the way have worked their entire lives, might be having problems with being able to feed themselves?

      By the way, one day you will be one of the elderly.
      Being a woman you are very likely to be living in poverty in your old age unless you are very, very well off.
       
      I guess we could just people go hungry and die, that’s the Ayn Rand way is it not?

    • Ben

       Yes, every member of the population CAN come up with a condition that will meet your criteria for government help: it’s the condition called being a citizen of the United States of America living under a government whose very Constitution charges it with providing for the general welfare. Every other modern democratic nation manages to do it quite easily (the democracies of northern Europe enjoy a standard of living for ALL their citizens that long ago surpassed that of our own country). The mark of a great nation is not how grotesquely rich it allows its upper class to become, but how well it takes care of its precious resources, including its natural resources, its infrastructure, and its citizenry. What part of that don’t you get?

      • Che’ Riviera

        Bravo, Steve.

      • con law flunky

         Bravo indeed…but I think wrong…where’s my check?  If the Constitution charges it why isn’t Obama doing it?

      • Tina

        Beautifully said!!  Thank you!!

      • notafeminista

        The part that allows, and even celebrates the removal of any personal responsibility whatsoever. The part that makes it easy and smart to live off public assistance rather than actually gettin a job and supporting one’s self.  Promoting the general welfare does not mean putting people on welfare.  Read the document. 

    • nj_v2

      Disqus provides a “Like” button. Where’s the “Deeply and thoroughly despise” button?

      This post perfectly sums up the soulless, self-centered, greedy, selfish core of the current Greedy Opportunistic Panderer party, invoking the mythic hordes of lazy, abled-bodied people milking ill-conceived, income-redistributing “socialist” programs taking money from hard-working, honest citizens like notafeminista.

      Notafeminista, you disgust me.

      If i said what i really wanted to, they would have to delete the comment.

      • con law flunky

         Actually it’s the ” left click ” button on your mouse.  Go to the top of the page, click on the little home icon and leave…it’s that simple.

        • nj_v2

          That’s for the day’s topic/whole page. There’s nothing for individual posts. Not that simple…

      • J__o__h__n

        The dislike button wouldn’t have expressed it as well as you just did.

  • Akilez Castillo

    In Europe and Asia.

    The families take care of the grandpa and grandma with extreme care and compassion. They won’t let their grandparents be abuse in the retirement homes or neglected by the people who supposed to take care of them.

    The tradition and cultures of other countries make families the first priority even losing or quitting a job just to take care of their grandparents. American cultures is different we hire or send them to places so other people can take care of them makes my heart break into pieces.

    Some Americans do take of their grandparents a tradition that they learned from the countries that their grandparents were born.

    • Steve

       That’s great, but you’ve missed the point entirely: not everyone in modern American society has a family that can take care of them, or any family at all. Families are also more scattered today than they used to be or than they are in traditional cultures. Your traditions are nice, and I applaud them in the few instances where they exist in our society, but this is simply not the reality of the United States (as much as it might be nice for it to be).

      • Akilez Castillo

        My German and British friends are very busy people but still manage to put 1/2 of their lives to their parents and children.

        You explain pretty good about the way of American life not the culture. American Blacks and Hispanics still manage to TAKE CARE OF THEIR grandparents.

        The other ethnic group that you forgot to mention.

        • Steve

           I didn’t mention any ethnic groups, nor did I mention anything about being busy. I just pointed out that you missed the point, which you did (and still do), and that your utopian traditional vision, though it sounds very nice, was simply not realistic for most people in this country, which it is not.

        • Steve

           And how you can make such broad and unsubstantiated generalizations such as American blacks still manage to take care of their grandparents, taxes the imagination, except that you have fooled yourself with a great deal of wishful thinking. The black American family has been, unfortunately, fractured and dysfunctional for many decades now. I live in a mixed neighborhood with persons of all ethnicities, and, believe me, the young black males I interact with every day are certainly not home taking care of grandma. Welcome to reality.

          • Don_B1

            Even when they are home taking care of their grandparents, great uncles and aunts, the income available is not nearly enough to provide a half-decent life.

            Employers do not allow workers to leave work for family emergencies as was possible in a more family-oriented society as so many of the countries that are the origins of the ethnicities that Akilez’ speaks of.

      • http://www.facebook.com/aiwoxm.voiemg Aiwoxm Voiemg

        Even living close does not guarantee help.  I help my mother but my brother lives all of a 5 minute drive away and no longer calls or visit, let alone donate time to follow the benefits maze, particularly for Medicaid.  I definitely would NOT like a mandate from 80 years ago where various relatives were called to court to explain why they could not afford to bury their senior relatives in the Plattsburgh, New York, area.  Nor would I have ever wanted to be mandated to help either of my parents.  My mother has earned my help, but I do not have time to schedule routine medical appointments for her, particularly with the Medicaid transportation broker in Vermont. She gets medical care in a couple core areas only because I do not have the time to do it all and there is no nurse or case manager to step in to help with scheduling of other screenings.  I case manage as much as I can/want but it is by no means not comprehensive, even with AAA assistance.  My father was abusive and undeserving of any assistance from me.  

      • Tina

        And more and more of our educated young people are being told that their professional future is in China or India!  How to help mom and dad, and maybe even a disabled sibling from there?!!

  • TomK in Boston

    Poverty among the elderly was the norm before the New Deal social programs so it’s to be expected that it reappears as the right returns us to 1900. That’s the GoP agenda.

    Class war General Ryan’s plan to replace medicare with a Groupon will be a giant step in destroying the safety net. With the Ryan Groupon worth less than what WellPoint wants, seniors will have to pay out of pocket or go without (in class war speak, this = “freedom”), giving them even less to spend on food.

    Yet, some non-oligarchs are duped into supporting them. Go figure.

    • William

       Really? What cuts have been made? Obama’s free lunch is apparently not working and trickle up economics has failed once again.

      • Che’ Riviera

        Once again?  Haven’t we been doing trickle-DOWN since Reagan?

        • Don_B1

          Some have been calling the Reagan economy a “trickle-up” economy to capture the way more than 90% of the gains from worker productivity growth have gone to the upper 2% or 1%, etc. But it is really a “big sucking sound” of the money being held from the workers who enable it.

        • William

           Really? Where? What is food stamps spending now? 80 billion a year?

      • Akilez Castillo

        Free Lunch!!!!

         It is never easy to get a free lunch from the government. if you never applied for food stamps, Section 8, WIC, Welfare checks,SSI or whatever governments programs for the poor. Those are not easy to get it just easy to say them.

        • William

           I’m proud to say I never applied for any welfare, unemployment payments, section 8, etc…

          • Tina

            “proud” and perhaps “fortunate”

          • TFRX

            And William comes here and tells us this as if that’s representative of anything besides his good luck* compared to millions just like him who’ve done everything right and may even be better qualified, smarter and cheaper to hire than William.

            I await William’s Purity Test of all his fellow rightwingers getting government money.

            Funny how so many of us are more productive than ever, statistically speaking, but getting less out of it.

          • William

             Such a bitter person. How do you live with yourself?

          • TFRX

            The face of “moral hazard” is shown.

            Why is it every right-winger on this page has an app which taps into my vocal tone and non-verbal communication, and can divine things about me like that?

          • William

             Proud, very proud.

    • Tina

      Excellent post!  

      “in class war speak, this = “freedom” …

      and, the other word:  “choice” (not!)

  • AC

    in Europe they have the mailman keep track of the ‘elderly’ – do ours do that? maybe they should? the function of the post office is changing anyway, isn’t it?

    • TomK in Boston

      If the right has their way it won’t be an issue, as there will be no mailman. Destroying the postal service, with all those non-oligarchs making a decent living, is an important front in the class war.

      • Tina

        And, meanwhile, more and more prescription plans are only discounting drug costs if people have their medications delivered by the post office!!!  Is this a way of getting more money into the hand of the other carriers (like UPS, etc.) just as soon as the Postal Service is deceased???

    • Tina

      My most recent mailman was a moody brat (and not just to me).  When he KNEW that I’d had a total hip replacement, he put my pile of stopped mail on the floor of the front-door entry.  The pile wasn’t even tied together!  So, not only would I have to bend over which was contraindicated for my condition, but I might have had to go scampering thru the bushes to pick up the mail that blew away!

      When I asked him if he could ring the doorbell so that I would know that the mail had been delivered (just over a one week period for a specific reason), he said, “I don’t have the time for that!”  (the door bell is right next to the door which is right next to the mailbox!)The story I prefer: an earlier mailman rang the bell and asked for a shovel.  This was just after he knew that I had been  diagnosed with cancer that had spread to my bones.  I said, “oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to shovel the steps and walk!”  He said, “No!  You can’t be doing it yourself — I’m gonna do it for you!”I’m thinking that your plan is a great one, but it would probably have to be spelled out as part of the job description.  

    • Steve_T

       Not in the way you think.

  • Ellen Dibble

    There may be a lot of smarts and experience that goes into choosing catfood, which presumably is designed to be nutritious and uncomplicated, so that doesn’t shock me.  It probably isn’t loaded up with sweeteners and other unhealthy things.  After all, who can afford to take care of an unhealthy cat.   I lived on canned tuna for many years, only to find I was off the charts in terms of red zone for mercury toxicity in my body.  I would have done better by eating catfood, right?

    • Don_B1

      Actually, I doubt it. There is no incentive to ensure low toxicity levels in cat food for an animal which will live less than 20 years and probably not show a chronic disease that is caused by mercury or other toxics. Or the veterinarian will not diagnose its cause, other than age, etc.

  • AC

    is there a gender diff for those numbers?

    • J__o__h__n

      Probably but the alternative for men is worse. 

      • AC

        why?

        • J__o__h__n

          They die much earlier. 

          • AC

            still?

  • Webb Nichols

    The amount of food thrown out of restaurants and super markets each evening is a crime.  Provide a space for people to come and consume that food at the place it is prepared or have a method to pick up this food, preserve it and serve to others at appropriate meeting places like community service centers and church centers.

    • Akilez Castillo

      McDonalds is one of them. I used to work there

    • Don_B1

      Many restaurants that I know of have arrangements for the leftover food to go to charity.

    • Tina

      Did you know that many of our young people are dumpster diving?  They know the schedules of when the food is put into the dumpsters and are there on time.  They then often have group cooking events and turn their situation into a celebration.  These kids come at this from a Creative Tribe perspective; I only report what little I know; you would find many of these kids to be expansive in their acceptance of difference, etc.  They can speak much better for themselves than I can speak for them.  

  • J__o__h__n

    The elderly overwhelmingly vote Republican and want to cut everything except Medicare (they didn’t read the Ryan plan).  They turnout out to vote in the Teabaggers in 2010 because they were afraid their benefits might be cut if health care was expanded to others.  I’m sure the churches and private charities can cover the hunger crisis the same way they think they can provide other needed services that they vote against. 

    • Akilez Castillo

      I blame the political Advertising Ad of the Republicans

    • Don_B1

      The elderly, living on fixed savings, fear inflation and anything which will lower their income. That is one reason that they dislike the current low interest rates.

      Too many people have a limited understanding of economics and macro economics is hard because it deals with things that do not occur within the context of daily life. So they fall back on “household analogies” which is easier and is what the Republicans are falsely pushing as legitimate analysis because it leads people to the wrong conclusions. And that is particularly true right now, when, because of the Financial Crisis of 2008, everyone is trying to pay down debt (or at least too many people). It is necessary to think about how EVERYONE can simultaneously save more (which requires them to reduce spending) but to save more they have to also increase their income or at least keep it constant. But that decreased spending will mean decreased income for everyone and everyone will effectively save less, not more.

      This has been know since Irving Fisher basically stated it in the early 1930s, but is simply not taught any longer in many Schools of Economics, particularly in those known as “freshwater” universities from being “inland” rather than on the East or West Coasts. The University of Chicago School of Economics, where Milton Friedman reigned for so long being recognized by many as the leader of that “school of thought,”  is an example. That is why so many economists do not accept it, and because it has not been supported by derived equations, apparently refuse to even consider it.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Note that the cheapest food is least appropriate for seniors, whose bodies are less efficient at absorbing nutrients from what is eaten.  The enzymes are less, as I understand it.  And the systems for distributing nutrients and those for eliminating what needs to be eliminated are less efficient (skin, lungs, liver, kidneys).  There should be separate guidelines for diet, it seems to me.  I know for me that obtains.  I need fewer calories, and those have to be pretty precise, or I’m a LOT less functional.  Not speaking for myself, but for seniors in general, there is a lot of accumulated wisdom that can be either mobilized or suppressed depending on the condition of those folks.  Note too that they have absorbed into their bodies a host of pollutants which further vitiates their functioning.  Optimum nutrition is vital.  It’s very easy to cease to be hungry and simply fade away.

  • Louise

    In Cambridge, MA a friend who is under the povery line gets $200 per mionth in food stamps.  He also goes to food bank at the Catholic church in Harvard Square where $1.00 fills his grocery bag with vegetables, bread, canned goods and an occasional pie – much comes from Whole Foods.  This doesn’t help shut-ins but it seems more than enough for someone who is still mobile.

    • Akilez Castillo

      There is church in Wellesley, MA near the fire station on route 9 that gives food to low income people.

  • Barbara

    Often the elderly (and I mean people in their late 80s and 90′s–often referred to as the old-old) can still cook a simple meal but actually getting the food from the grocery store TO their kitchen is the enormous effort.  Their energy levels and muscles as well as coordination make everything from actually getting the food to cleaning up afterwards a huge issue.

  • Peggy

    Do your guests think part of this is due to families being so far away from each other? I just can’t see this happening all that long ago when families lived in three flats, etc. People had family in the same neighborhood and neighbors that actually knew each other.

    • KayJay

      I agree.  Why do people need to live in big expensive cities.  When I used to live in Boston I was horrified to see these poor old people walking around in the snow without appropriate clothes or boots.  There must be placed either closer to family or in cheaper residential areas.  We need to look into this for all senior citizens.  Give them options, such as helping with moving expenses, perhaps, offering them choices.  The same monthly amount can go a long way in different parts of the country.

      • d b

        The elderly live in cities because services are available and there are lots of free entertainment opportunities. You don’t need to own a car, you can walk to most everything you need. My mom lived in a cheap small town with no public transit was was basically stuck in her home. 

        • Tina

          Not everyone can walk easily.  That is important to remember!  Or, some people can walk but they cannot carry the weight of what they would like to/need to buy when they are out.  In that case, cities can sometimes be even more difficult than the suburbs, where, if you still drive, you can at least get a parking space close to where you need to go, usually.  I wish that, instead of promoting high-speed rail, that we were investing in regular intra-suburb jitney or small bus/van services for the areas outside of cities.  Some of these outer ‘burbs even HAD trolleys way back when!  A service that is needed (either completely or expanded where it currently exists) and jobs!  Somehow we pay for wars, but not for things like this.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Peapod will deliver food, at least in Massachusetts.  I think they’re out of Illinois.  I’ll find a link.  They always choose better fresh fruits and vegetables than I would be able to myself.  I have no idea how that happens.  They have about the same breadth of choice as a supermarket.  I pay a $5 tip to the driver, and order about every other month, for heavy things, mostly. http://www.peapod.com/

    • Guest

      what do you work for peapod?

      • Ellen Dibble

        Nope.  I read about it in the newspaper, and found it online, right about when I began to really need that service.  Without it, I’d have to spend an entire afternoon every few weeks bringing in food.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Aren’t all the hungry senior citizens supposed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps rather than hoping for help from the government?

    • Letthemeatcake

      yeah!
      And where did they get money for a phone to call in?

  • Steve_T

    I turned 60 this year and amazingly all the jobs are gone and I’m expected to do what? How do you save when all you have goes out and there’s still to much month left at the end of the money. I don’t qualify for anything but food stamps and that helps a lot. but I hustle up some work about 3 days out of a week to the tune of $45-60 a week. I have worked all my life, I enlisted and served in the military. And never ever though my country would do this to me and others my age.

    What happened? when did we stop caring for our neighbors, and the people who are disadvantaged?

    When we all got rich. All?

    • Louise

      If you served active duty in the military you can use the VA hospitals for health care and drop your insurance.  Afriend of mine does this even though he’s 1 1/2 hours away from the closest VA hospital.  They cover his anti-viril medsfor HIV and they even cover viagra.

      • Steve_T

         I have applied and now I wait, and wait…

  • Ellen Dibble

    In the same vein as BHA, don’t senior citizens tend to cost the government more money the longer they live?  They cost Social Security; they cost Medicare.  In general, they are a national waste.  
        By the way, no, I do not think AARP can be given the total right to propose and push for solutions.  Nowhere is it more obvious that the better you feed someone, the more valuable they will be.  Well, infants and fetuses are even more susceptible, but I can remember time when I was young and could eat cheap junk with impunity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/aiwoxm.voiemg Aiwoxm Voiemg

    I am not surprised hunger among seniors is greatest at age 60-64.  From my mother’s experience, living on Social Security is not enough.  Even though my mother also qualified for Medicaid and had low medical expenses, the amount of food aid available magically increases greatly at age 65 for food stamps and the commodity supplemental programs.  My mother would not take Meals on Wheels because it comes with a “suggested donation, ” which was a deterrent.  Even with the “no one is turned away for lack of funds” in the same statement, she figured she was taking charity if she could not come up with the donation.  Also, there is a stigma of being old enough to get those meals on a regular basis.  Matter of fact, my mother would not accept those meals until age 83.

    The age at which the higher food stamp allotments and commodities begins (65) needs to be lowered or eliminated.  Why would a disabled person drawing the same Social Security benefit be less needy of food only due that person’s age? MOW has a marketing issue if people are refusing it due to the perception of being charity.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Remember those 401k that were WIPE – OUT by Wall Street?

    Well, Why do you think the Elderly are suffering now than ever before.

    I even remember the 69 year old woman working for Sonic On Roller Blades!!! The cover of Time Magazine.

    This has been going only for the past 10 years.

     I guess who was the President? Yes it was his fault

  • KayJay

    Please , please , please talk about the fact that many children don’t want their parents to sell their home or get a much needed annuity from their existing savings and homes.  Greed at all levels…….  These people don’t have anybody who has THEIR interests at heart.  It’s very sad.  I see these people every day and have to be quiet so as not to offend anybody.  But it needs to be discussed urgently.

    • Wm. James from Missouri

      You shouldn’t have to sell your home to afford retirement. We live in a CAPITALIST society. For capitalism to work you need capital, ie., equity of various types. It is important to build wealth that can be given to your heirs at time of death, this IS how you accumulate capital and wealth ! Remember it is always easy to find a reason to destroy capital and savings. Your thinking ensures that individuals will never end the poverty spiral ! We need to build a society that produces enough wealth and distributes that wealth in a fair and equitable manner.

      • Tina

        So many things can interrupt that process; or, so many things can prevent that process from even getting underway in the first place (the process of accumulating capital and wealth).  Just one example:  you are in your prime earning years when your parents get sick, and your employer won’t let you have enough time off to help your parents who don’t live near you.  Your parents can’t come to live with or near you for any number of reasons (one reason might be that they have a disease that is hard to manage and your area doesn’t have any doctors who could help manage their illness as well; or, they couldn’t take the ice and snow where you live due to their disease or disability.  You can’t move near them because your spouse’s profession is hard to get jobs in, and yet he/she has a good job in his/her field where you live now.  Or, perhaps the demand for that kind of work is very low where your parents live. Or, your child has special needs and the disruption caused by moving could possibly disrupt their progress.  So, what do you — the only person with a degree of flexibility — do?  You quit your job that pays well and has a good retirement plan, replacing it with a part-time job that gives you the flexibility to visit and help your parents as often as possible.  Maybe you didn’t come to this conclusion until after several years of trying to hire people in your parents area to help as you wish you could, only to find the results unacceptable and possibly threatening to your parents’ health. I swear, something like this has happened to tons of people.  The downside is that that you have been required to radically reduce their own ability to contribute to your own retirement savings, and the consequences of that WILL take effect at some point.  By the way, I might as well add more to my scenario:  you don’t live near your parents in the first place because your company told employees 12 years ago that they could either go work at the one office they were keeping in this country, or take severance pay and leave.  You chose to follow the job because the benefits would help you educate your children while saving for retirement!! 

        • Wm. James from Missouri

          Your scenario is so well thought out that I can not add anything that would improve it. From your many prior posts I feel I know how you stand on many economic issues, I respect your opinion and share many of your views.

  • Yorkcountygirl

    I am so happy that you are talking about this. Particularly raising the point about the difficulties faced by those in the 60 – 64 group. It is very difficult to find jobs at this age, and we often still have our children to look after.  The problem will only exacerbate as the baby boom crosses the threshold into retirement.  There are insufficient non-profit seniors residents to house the coming on slaught of seniors. Ten years ago when I was looking for a retirement home for my 88 year-old father they only places immediately available cost $3000.00 a month.  He had pension income of $1700.00/ month. My sister and I cooked for him and left frozen home cooked meals in his freezer,  and eventually covered the difference between the housing cost and a retirement home. Thank God that I live in a country with public health care.

  • TFRX

    What’s wrong with waiting to retire until one is 70-75?

    1) Healthcare–one likely needs a bunch more of it at 74 than 60.
    2) Keeping from being fired. (Hell, ask a 55 year old about that.)
    3) Manual labor, as opposed to every politician and pundit who doesn’t have to worry about showering after work, but before work.

    (BTW, increasing the age eligibility for Medicare is bad for people and bad for Medicare. Anyone who says so seriously may simply want to destroy Medicare.)

    • KayJay

      That is not an option.  We are keeping people on in the company that cannot pull their weight in their sixties.  They are always calling in sick, have back pain, cannot lift anything that doesn’t weigh much.  That is NOT realistic, sorry!  They are forgetful, and resentful if they are told that they are not working at a normal level.  One tries to be socially conscious, but keeping people at work in their old age is not a solution.

      • d b

         I find older people have a great work ethic. They are on time, understand customer service, actually make eye contact and smile at clients, are are great problem solvers.

        • Stillin

           These things are true but many positions work people like dogs now. How many older people are going to be able to be slaved to death by the job? The crappier the job the worse they are worked, it’s actually a big plantation out there or am I the only one noticing.

      • Steve_T

         I guess I could say the same about some 30 years my jr. As Lazy good for nothing slackers, who wouldn’t know what an honest days work even looks like. Sorry that is realistic. I do work guys half my age don’t want to do because its to hard, crawling under houses theirs spiders and bugs and snakes under their, Its to hot to go up in the attic it makes me sweat. I never hesitated just got the job done. Well they are still complaining but working, I was laid off(Fired) and the CO is slowly going down hill till it picks up speed and closes the doors. What solution would you suggest the retirement age keeps moving, the closer I get the further it moves. Retire or die in place.

    • d b

      Have you tried to find a job for someone over 60 in this economy? 

      • TFRX

        No, I’m not speaking of any personal or second-hand experience, but rather I’m going by the headlines and coverage I see.

        (And this is about generalisms, the proverbial “me” and “you”, than anyone in particular.)

    • Stillin

       Talk to people in that age group. They’re TIRED. And a lot of them are broke AND tired.

      • TFRX

        I was listing three things that were wrong with the concept. But reading what I wrote, it wasn’t clear.

        I started by quoting a guest or caller who said something about “What’s
        wrong about working until 70-75?” as if it were a viable option for tens
        of millions of ordinary Americans.

        Note that our political, economic and media tastemakers who are enamored of these concepts about working longer (and delaying Medicare and SocSec eligibility ages as a “solution”) are remarkably devoid of blue-collar manual laborers or having to work two jobs because nobody will hire them for one fulltime job.

  • Wm. James from Missouri

    I want to mention some offbeat solutions.
    Rooftop farming.
    Hydroponics.
    Front yard farming.
    Neighborhood gardens.
    And lastly, ( I am not kidding.) Robotic farming.

    _Side Note:
    My mother passed away in June. Two days after my brother and I buried her we found our father in his bathtub, butt naked. He had been there 3 days, he had a stroke. He is in rehab now. As of this point in time my brother and I have spent or lost about 10,000 dollars due to these situations and my job is in jeopardy as a result of taking off to deal with these issues ( pleas don’t tell me about “the family leave act“, employers have a way of preventing you from using this. ) These types of events have affected our own retirement possibilities. I am sure that many other people are being affected by these types of trickle down disasters.

    • Tina

      I’m so sorry this happened to you.  I just posted a hypothetical piece, and then I found your real-life version!  I don’t think our politicians think in terms of the real-life scenarios, otherwise called Stories, at all.  They speak, and possibly think, in policy terms only:  a cold language that is couched more by numbers and polls (which results in generalities) than by Life Stories about their fellow human beings.  I hope your story resolves itself more hopefully than you might now be expecting.  

      • Wm. James from Missouri

        Tina,

        Please don’t feel bad about your prior post reflecting my current problems, serendipity is a real phenomena. I do want to add that I have a survivors streak in me. You see I grew up “without” as boy and know that I can weather this storm. You should know that despite many of my life’s problems I am still better off that so many people and am thankful for that. It didn’t hurt that I have worked many long hours in my life, sometimes as much as 70 or 80 plus, per week . Now here is where we probably don’t agree. You see, I am convinced that if mankind can endure through these next 30 or so years, we will be singing, “nothing but blue skies from now on”. I may not live to see it but the EXTREEM gains that are possible by choosing and using technologies that are just on the horizon will make all of these types of problems seem passé.

        • Yorkcountygirl

           only if we empower people for the betterment of the community.  Otherwise the technology will be controlled by the elite for the benefit of the few.

  • Akilez Castillo

    $1 Billion a month + 10 years of Iraq war = Elderly Poverty.

  • Nick

    Damn… I feel terrible eating my lunch at my job today.  Unfortunately neither presidential candidate will think about doing anything for the hungry.

    • TFRX

      Maybe if Americans could leave their desks for lunch without the threat of getting fired…

      (I don’t know anything about you particularly. However, I don’t know if I’m kidding anymore.)

  • Jimbalony22

    I get most of my food from supermarket dumpsters, however many supermarkets are locking their dumpsters or using compactors. Recently, I’ve been going to the trash cans inside certain fast food restaurants and getting tasty food that is recently thrown away. 

  • d b

    The problem with Meals on Wheels is not that the food is not nutritious, it’s that many seniors are on meds or have conditions that the meals can’t conform to. Further many seniors don’t understand the restrictions. My mom was on cumadin(sp?), an anticoagulant, which requires a vitamin K restriction. Vitamin K sources include leafy greens — think spinach. Many seniors don’t remember and don’t check lists before every meal. As in much else in life, one size does not fit all.

    • TFRX

      How does MonW stack up against hospital food?

      This isn’t a lame hospital food joke (I’d have said something about airline food instead.)

      I have family who’ve worked in hospitals and am told over the last ~40 years hospitals have by and large really geeked out over dietary restrictions and needs. Wondering if Meals on Wheels have the resources and nutritional consultation to “drill down” for this kind of thing more than in, say, 1980.

      • d b

        I’m sure they don’t — the logistics of keeping track of who needs what would be really difficult. MonW was generally great for my mom, but unfortunately personalizing it would be expensive.

  • J__o__h__n

    The hungry obese should be self-correcting condition. 

    • d b

      John, not funny. Easy to cook foods, cheap food tends to be highly caloric. Salads, for example, are difficult for people who have a problem holding knives and pre-packaged fresh veggies are expensive. Pasta and bread are cheap and easy, not satisfying, so encourage overeating.

      • J__o__h__n

        Even eating only a small amount of poor quality foods would help reduce the obesity. 

    • TFRX

      It used to be that way, but given the new (50 or 60 year old?) efficiency of modern systems turning sunshine, water, seed and nitrogen fertilizer into calories, and our transportation and processing systems ability to put that in packages near almost every American, it’s twisted now.

      Note that none of the above has to do with the RDA of anyhthing.

      “Undernourished” and “malnourished” (literally “badly”, in French) are two different things.

    • Steve_T

       I’m willing to bet you’ve never been hungry longer than it takes you to walk to your fridge.

      Not even slightly humorous.

      • J__o__h__n

        I haven’t technically been hungry but I experienced some lean times a decade ago and still live paycheck to paycheck in a high rent city while still paying off student loans.  Feel free to disagree with my comment but don’t make personal assumptions to try to discredit me.  And it was funny.   

        • Gregg

          I agree, it was funny. Personally, I have been hungry, it’s a great motivator. It’s builds character when you’re young. I am more inclined to lean socialist when it comes to the elderly though but only as a last resort. Family, churches and communities are far better than government.

          • Steve_T

             And your funny as in Clown.

          • Gregg

            Don’t talk about my funny.

          • J__o__h__n

            You are wrong most of the time but have a good sense of humor. 

        • Steve_T

           You discredit yourself, and sorry I ain’t laughing, hunger ain’t funny. Take your technical and shove it till you taste it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/aiwoxm.voiemg Aiwoxm Voiemg

      Medicaid aid to keep people in their homes and out of the nursing home extends to SIMPLE meal prep only.  Basically, seniors are expected to eat out of aluminum cans and consume frozen dinners, which are expensive, because there is little meal prep/cleanup assistance provided, other than from family and friends on a voluntary basis. How hard is it to cook frozen veggies, you may ask?  My mother did this throughout my childhood and rarely does now, and I assumed it was part of her cognitive decline.  

  • Ellen Dibble

    If our decision-making units were such that we eye-balled each other say once a week, if not regularly all week long, then I doubt we would organize things so that anyone would go hungry, least of all the elderly.  Maybe those in the slammer.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/MKYVSA5DN6XM57MZV52JCM6B54 Alsand Pine

    i care for my elderly parents and i think the main reason for the younger people not preparing for their own aging is that they do not really see aging any more. most elderly end up in nursing homes and their children do not really see what it means to be old. since i care for my parents, i am constantly aware of my own aging and am not only doing all i can for my own health and growing most of our food, i am trying to prepare for my own inevitable loss of vitality. in the old days when family meant something and people lived together and cared for each other, people understood aging better.

  • jim

    About the prevention programme.. ie. obesity and high blood pressure…
    the cultprit: FDA, congress (preferably Congressional Republicans)why: Food and medical lobbyistthe real why: business stimulusthat is where part of your stimulus dollars go to.

  • Andrew – MN

    This tragic situation is just one of many that occurs when we continually allow policy makers to erode the purchasing power of our currency through flawed economic policy. People who have tried to save for years suddenly find their dollars don’t buy as much as they used to.

  • Mike Card

    There is a lot of blah, blah, blah about nutrition today; but the notion of “good” nutrition changes significantly every decade.  What was a healthy meal in the 1970′s is treated like Kryptonite today, and I have no doubt that it will change again, soon.  The disheartening thing is the fact that nutritionists continually cop the attitude that says, “We used to think X, but now we know Y;  aren’t we smart and weren’t they stupid?”

    It helps nobody to now hear that Adele Davis was a deluded protein freak, when people in their 60′s & 70′s saw her as a leading light when they were young adults.  I could go on through the decades since, but you catch my drift.

    • J__o__h__n

      Eat less and exercise is rather timeless. 

      • Mike Card

        It is today, but even timeless shifts.

  • Tina

    Everyone needs to understand Medicare way before they are eligible for it.  When you hear about buying a Medigap plan and prescription plan, it sounds like there is a way to cover yourself — and there is — thank goodness!!!  But!!!  I don’t know how young you can be to go see a SHIP, a Medicare specialist often operating out of a senior center and for free, but find out, because…. The SHIPS have access to computers that allow you to plug in your specific medications to see which prescription plan will be best for you and how much the premiums AND the prescription will cost.  Now, this is only true for those drugs that you know you are now taking.  You could get an entirely new diagnosis between age 63 and 65, with totally new drug needs, but, for the purposes of my point here, I’ll have to ignore that.  

    Anyway, Prudential had ads in the paper in April saying that couples needed $230,000 for medical needs for the ages 65-85.  So, that is $115,000 per person for that time frame.  When I went to the SHIP, I found out that if my Medicare prescription plan (when I get one) will not pay for my taking one of my medicines the three times a day I must take it (it is generally, tho not always, written for two times a day); i.e., if the plan will only pay for two pills a day, leaving me to pay for one pill a day, that ONE PILL will cost me over $20,000 per year!!!  And that is only based on what I know about my condition today, not what additional medications I may need by the time I’m fully on Medicare.  I found out that I will be paying more than the 20K, because I currently take other medications as well, but this one prescription, to me, is very instructive about what FRIGHTENING SURPRISES ARE IN STORE for so many people who are about to become elderly.  There were so many medical distractions in my family over the last 25 years, that MAYBE that is why I did NOT SEE THIS COMING.  That to me is one of the Big Issues.  I could have planned differently had I had any idea about what to plan for.  Even tho I spoke with lawyers about my will and power of attorney, planning for these extraordinary needs never came up.  Perhaps there is a great divide between professionals like that who know these things so intimately, that they almost don’t think to mention them; then there is artsy me, in a different world entirely, who never knew what questions to even ask!!  I thought I was doing okay, only to find out a few weeks ago how threatened my future is.  I spell out all this personal stuff to help any people I can.  You MUST save tons and tons and tons for your later years.  What does that do for the economy that needs us to spend?  How do we even do that with corporations coming around every bend to lock us into spending on them!  I was so happy to “give back”; now I have to cut back on my charitable giving.  What does that do to those most in need and to cultural organizations?I hope this helps people!!!  Thanks!  

    • Ellen Dibble

      I tried to get advice about Medicare and Medigap a year before I turned 65, and found that no one would divulge anything till 3 months before, and then it was a kind of nightmare just to stay more or less in place.  The 3 months when every sort of insurance company was wanting me to travel here and there for their promotional forays, I didn’t have any time for that, and I did have a few strategic questions, and really found no good options, nothing worth going around for, as it happens.  I also think doing my taxes now that I’m 65 will be more and more of a nightmare each year.  It used to be the same boxes year to year.  Not anymore.  
      So far my insurance, Medicare plus the gap insurances, for prescriptions and care, have covered about one percent of my costs; they cover Diflucan, which I use for allergy to sweets and sours, the generic version of it, almost entirely.   It does cause liver damage, but so it goes.  You could go crazy trying to understand this.  
      It is a  roll of the dice: your retirement plan caves in; you maybe don’t have the job you had a few years ago, to hope for overtime from in case of emergency; you worry about every lump and ache as if it had the address of your residence taped to it with the word “foreclosure” — if you’re so lucky as to own one.  Please pass the vodka.

      • Tina

        Hi, Ellen, and thanks for the reply!  Yes, this (almost EVERYTHING important in American life regarding the human life span!)  is craziness and crazy-making!  There ARE countries that think systematically and in favor of The People!  For those people afraid that a systematic system would rob them of “choice”?!?!!  Well, when the SHIP plugs in the prescriptions to see which (corporate) Medigap plan is best, at least when we did it at least 6 times, the difference between one choice and another was often only $43 a year!!!  But the confusion will cost more than that in aspirin for headaches alone!!  

        I keep being envious of those really big families who usually have several uncles who pass on the knowledge early enough for young people to know how to do the right thing.  As you say, all I got was marketing that I didn’t trust!  Also, all this was happening while I was on a chemo that so wrecked my cognitive abilities that I was getting narcolepsy, sometimes falling asleep in the middle of my own sentence while standing up!  The likelihood that you are already in possession of some medical condition or other by the time you are allowed to try to figure this stuff out, is alone an indictment of the confusion of it all!  (By the way:  I took really good care of my health:  I just had bad medical luck.)  I got SO deluged with sales brochures before my last birthday, that I couldn’t tell the OFFICIAL Medicare/Social Security mailing from all the advertising/marketing!!  

        I HOPE I didn’t read you correctly when you said that all your current spending on insurance plans still only covers one percent of your medical expenses!  My latest gallows humor joke has been that I don’t know which I’m outrunning faster:  death or bankruptcy and/or foreclosure!!!Oh, the humor of it all:  I can’t even join you with the vodka:  it doesn’t mix with my meds!!!

        • Tina

          And, yes, I am eating less lately, because of trying to save more for future medical expenses.  In my case, eating less gets me pretty close to “eating less well” for being ill.  But I’m no where near in any worst case scenario yet, but I could get into a really bad place really quickly, so my ability to picture the situation that others are in, which I had very strongly anyway, is now enhanced, because I can see the speed with which things can go from acceptable to really bad.  AND, I know that other people are currently in a situation I can easily picture.  Are we talking about a lack of imagination in many of our leaders?  Or, is their imagination focussed on something less essential than a steady-state sustainability for ALL HUMANS?  I just plain don’t LIKE an America that lets us have these great economic inequities.  

          Regarding access to health care:  there was a Sunday New York Times Magazine section article this weekend about a new plan for medical care for one of the nation’s poorest regions, in Mississippi.  In it, there is a photo of several poor men and one woman standing and sitting on a street corner of their town, boarded up bungalows visible in the background.  Meanwhile, the text told about another  woman who was “dying of bone cancer in her back room”.  I wept in every way possible without the actual tears to AGAIN know that this information about poverty in America is available for all to acknowledge.  Yet, the poverty persists!  These specific human beings — those in the photo and the person mentioned in the text — are our fellow human beings.  Their families were definitely exploited by slavery, and, in Mississippi, possibly by years of peonage or at least share cropping after that; i.e., by economic systems that chugged America’s success along.  It only takes compassion to see that our economic choices have been skewed away from contributing to human living and towards the accumulation of wealth predominantly. So short-sighted!  And, a reminder:  Democracy and Capitalism are NOT synonymous.  And, as you say, Marx warned us about the ultimate trajectory of pure Capitalism, and it’s not any place that favors sustainable human living across the life span, altho there are economic systems that do, while being mixed with the good parts of Capitalism.  We’ve just dumbed down our broad, public discussion of these matters so much! And now we have economic growth thru ever greater engagement with financial gambling!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Families should provide.  Churches are sort of a backup.  I think it’s Enid Borden addressing this now.  
    But I don’t hear her mention that families that are distributed far and wide are not necessarily open about their financial situations.  Would one family member divulge that they have sent $100,000 for aid to Sudan when they know there are close relatives living for decades on couches and in garages?  Do seniors divulge that they have sent most of their savings to certain offspring who basically use it for illegal drugs, whether or not the senior exactly knows this?  Would a relative with resources cancel out the familial claims of someone who marries a homosexual, or someone of a different religion or ethnicity?  Would they want that decision out there for criticism?  If everyone laid their cards on the table, a family might be able to coordinate for the betterment of all, but meanwhile, it is the neighbors, hopefully, who best know where the pinch is getting really bad.  I think immigrant families maybe can coordinate financially, partly because they might not yet be citizens, and might truly have to do that coordination.  No safety net for things to default to for them.  But aside from that, I think families have secrets.

  • Royboy99

    I’m 64 years old and I’m not hungry. I listened to this show with growing disgust as I was returning from collecting the eggs from my flock of chickens. We grow vegetables as well as keep chickens and we fill the freezer with venison, fish and other meats. We buy a lot of food too. I heard reference to persons my age being “lucky” enough have this or that resource. I don’t think luck has much to do with it. Most of the seniors I know who aren’t “lucky” are in the situation they are in as a result of the choices they have made in their lives. In many cases they front-loaded their eating in their 20′s, 30, and 40′s so now they are not physically capable of taking care of themselves. They smoked cigarettes, they didn’t get any exercise so now they can’t take care of themselves, what a surprise! They should talk to my buddy Joe who, last fall at the age of 83 rode 20 miles on horseback to go hunting elk with us. How many of them are impoverished because they refused to exercise the self-discipline necessary to sustain employment in a job that would provide them pension benefits when they were older? I am not saying we shouldn’t help those who need help, but when are we going to give up this attitude that a person’s situation is just a matter of outrageous fortune? When are we going to address the issue of individual responsibility rather than just say, “Oh well, it’s the responsibility of government (or society at large) to take care of everyone.”

    • jefe68

      You know you are lucky to be in the situation you are.
      Most Americans live in cities or towns and many do not have the land to grow food or raise chickens.
      That your friend at 83 is healthy enough to go hunting for elk on a horse is all well and good. You don’t how many people in this situation smoked cigarettes or had bad diets or not. When I read words such as “individual responsibility” I’m not sure if this is meant as a libertarian answer to everything or just someone who thinks and lives in their own little world and cannot fathom that there are people out there who are in need.

      • Gregg

        Yea, individual responsibility has no place in a civilized society. Where people live is completely beyond their control. There is nothing you can do to change your situation or prepare for old age. Nothing. And if you happen to think otherwise then you are an uncaring monster who wants to throw granny over a cliff.

        Damn those Republicans.

        • jimino

          Say Gregg, how far do you live from where you grew up?  Is it on the same land?

          • Gregg

            I was born in Miami, left home at 17  and moved to NC. I didn’t own land until I was 30.

        • jefe68

          Your point is what? That more people should live out in the woods or wherever this chap lives and raise chickens and hunt?
          Is it so much to ask people to use some common sense? The majority of people live in cities, this is a fact. That you have to pervert my comment into some kind of weird diatribe is quite something.
          Oh your so perfect in your little self righteous world of condescension.

          • Gregg

            My point is individual responsibility is not “lucky”. It’s not irrelevant. And this, “…or just someone who thinks and lives in their own little world and
            cannot fathom that there are people out there who are in need” is a shallow and offensive analysis of what RoyBoy99 wrote. 

    • A Boomer

      I can not disagree with you more.  I have a suggestion that I would like you to consider:

      Please make a list of all of the ways you have been fortunate:  education, intelligence, physical health, a spouse or partner (2 incomes and 2 people to help raise those veggies and chickens), real property, a place and climate to raise food… and I am sure the list goes on.

      Now imagine what it would be like to have had a much different life through no fault of your own.

      We all have different stories to tell…. some are widowed at a young age with children, some have a spouse that is struck with a chronic illness like Alzheimers or MS that requires many man hours and drains family finances, some have worked very hard and saved for retirement but have been laid off due to the recession and are now depleting assests while unable to find a replacement job due to age discrimination (which is very very real BTW).

      When my own mother was stricken with bone cancer in her mid eighties, she had already depleted a substantial portion of her retirement assets in taking care of my father who was chronically ill for about 3 years before he died…25 years before).  She almost ran out of money before she died because she needed round the clock care.  She was hard headed and refused to move in with me which would have stretched her budget substantially. However, she managed to die with some money in her bank account and at home.  If she had lived an additional month or two, she would have been flat broke.  She was lucky to have children who stepped in and helped.  Some people are not so lucky.

      Yes… there are people who don’t even try to prepare and save for retirement…. many boomers I know are in that position.  However, I think the elderly people we heard from today on the show deserve our compassion and respect and a collective desire to improve their lot.

      Note:  Romney and the House have discussed “means testing” social security….. this will reduce the incentive of workers to save MORE for retirement since they will logically conclude that the more they save now the less they will get from Social Security!

      • TFRX

        Means-testing SocSec? Hold on to your wallet. The people who say “means test” are the same people who say “reform”. They mean destroy.

        SocSec works because all (in a multitude of job categories) receive it regardless of means.

    • Mike Card

      I hope you appreciate how lucky you and your 83-yr old friend have been.  Yes, I said LUCKY.  You have done what you believe–mostly in retrospect–to have been the “right” things.  But where you and your friend got to is not due to your best efforts and your rugged individualism.

      Do you realize that all of your property, all of your friends, all of your family can evaporate by this time next year?  I am here to serve witness on how fast it can all happen, and it ain’t due to bad behavior.  Don’t be such a self-righteous butt, and thank your lucky stars–go kill another animal, if that’s your bliss.

    • Hennorama

      Clearly, many individuals need to take more responsibility for their own circumstances, and no government can or should take care of everyone.

      However, we can’t just throw up our hands and say “Too bad for you – you should have been more responsible when you were younger.  You’re on your own, sucker!”

      There is a problem here – people are hungry!  Is this tolerable in America?  Of course not!

      We need solutions to the problem, not blame.  No one can change their past.  The only thing that matters is what will we do now, today, to solve the problem.

      Congratulations to you as an individual for being fortunate enough to be healthy and self-sufficient, and skillful enough to be able to hunt, fish and raise your own crops and animals.  Not everyone is as lucky.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

       How many of these people had the deck stacked against them by where they were born (city vs rural), and by their genetics which is responsible for about 90% of their body type and health; and Big Agriculture and Big Biz that worked to get all the wrong things in your body, and in far too many ways, and amounts far too much, because certain crops are cheap, and they take advantage of the science that makes human brains and bodies crave sugar, salt, and fat the exact same way they get addicted to drugs? 
        How many of these people worked in jobs that took a severe toll on their bodies, but that damage didn’t manifest itself until later in life, when the body is starting to break down as it ages anyway?
        Exactly where are city people supposed to grow crops and raise livestock? 
       That’s a mighty high horse you sit on with your 83 year old friend.

      • notafeminista

        How brilliantly you illustrate that to which Royboy99 refers.  Bravo!

    • GMG

      You might want to go back and re-read the gospels.  I think you missed something.

    • notafeminista

      Ohhhhh Royboy99 haven’t you heard?  “You didn’t build that.”  Personal and individual responsibility are so 20th century.  

  • Tn_waltz

    AS A FORMER HOME HEALTH NURSE  I MFOUND MANY ELDERLY HAVE BROKEN OR ILL FITTING DENTURES AND CAN NOT CHEW MANY FOODS. tHEY ALSO HAD TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FODD OR MEDICATIONS FOR THE MONTH. MANY MANY OF THEM WERE STEADY HARD WORKERS ALL THEIR LIFE BUT NEVER MADE ENOUGH TO SAVE FOR THEIR OLD AGE, RAISING THEIR FAMILIES AND OFTEN HELPING THEIR CHILDREN GET THRU COLLEGE. WHEN YOU HAVE SOMEONE 70 AND UP THEIR CHILDREN ARE ALSO GETTING UP IN YEARS AND HAVE HEALTH PROBLEMS. AS TO ADEQUATE NUTRITION YOU NEED TO LOOK AT THE FACT IT COST MORE TO EAT HEALTHY ESPECIALLY WHEN  THERE IS VERY LITTLE MONEY LEFT OVER FOR FOOD. MANY ELDERLY CAN NOT STAND MLONG ENOUGH TO PREPARE A HEALTHY MEAL SO A CAN OF SOUP OR A FROZEN TV DINNER  TO THROW IN THE MICROWAVE IS ALL THEY CAN DO PHYSICALLY. IF YOU DOUBT THIS SOME DAY YOU TOO WILL BE OLD AND FRAIL.

    • J__o__h__n

      Many elderly know how to turn off Caps Lock. 

      • Akilez Castillo

        Probably she’s working with a system that requires CAPS LOCK only. A lot of medical systems are like that.

  • Akilez Castillo

    The new measure of poverty takes into account medical, commuting and other living costs. Doing that helped push the number of people below 200 percent of the poverty level up from 104 million, or 1 in 3 Americans, that was officially reported in September.
    Broken down by age, children were most likely to be poor or low-income, about 57 percent, followed by older people, those over 65. By race and ethnicity, Hispanics topped the list at 73 percent, followed by blacks, Asians and non-Hispanic whites.
    Even by traditional measures, many working families are hurting.
    Following the recession that began in late 2007, the share of working families who are low income has risen for three consecutive years to 31.2 percent, or 10.2 million. That proportion is the highest in at least a decade, up from 27 percent in 2002, according to a new analysis by the Working Poor Families Project and the Population Reference Bureau, a nonprofit research group based in Washington.

    • Akilez Castillo

      2007 Poverty report

  • Akilez Castillo

    Rocinha, Brazil. A slum in Rio de Janeiro with approximately 250,000 people.

    One of the thousands of Slum City all over the world.

  • A Shenandoah farmer

    I am a 68 year old lady, run a working farm and felt compelled to climb down off the roof where I am painting the house to say two things: 
    (1) your discussion focused mostly on government programs; how about some self help? James of Missouri is right – $10 invested in a few vegetable plants would yield a year’s worth of organic abundance. One crookneck squash and a zucchini plant will leave you stuffing veggies into parked cars with open windows. Even an apartment balcony and a few plastic pots will solve the “no vegetable” problem. Trade produce with other gardening neighbors.  Besides the good food, gardens are a flat-out joy; and
    (2) young folks: start now staying fit. I attribute good energy to a healthy weight and good eating over many years (and yes- some good luck too!). 

    Tom-Wade – Why not do a show on small scale urban and rural vegetable gardens for the homeowner or apartment dweller – whether fit or disabled?  Let’s focus on solutions that are “doable” by almost everybody.  

    • Ellen Dibble

      I’m dreaming of a senior co-op where there is a common garden, and those able to can garden for those who can’t.  They can pool their abilities as well as disabilities.  Not every apartment has a balcony.  Not every street has a garden.  And people on this thread of comments have been noting what I know is true where I live:  that larger towns and cities can afford to coordinate services for the elderly, and housing, transportation, exercise classes, etc., are located where actual garden space is in very short supply.  However, I also have noticed that new buildings all seem to have sod rooftops, so supposedly at least that can be planted.

    • Akilez Castillo

      Some elderly folks can do that but the majority are not capable of having a small garden in their backyard or porch. Some cannot even remember to take their meds or forgot to turn off the stove when a water is already boiling. I wish they all can do that but they can’t. the risk of injury while kneeling or bending down can cost more harm than good.

      I am proud of you. you reminded me of my grand father that worked so hard until he couldn’t even hold a shovel anymore.

    • Hennorama

      This is an excellent idea.

      Obviously, it won’t work for everyone, but gardening has enormous benefits – focused activity (both mental and physical), relatively low-cost healthy food, etc.

      Not every senior could do this alone, but community groups could easily develop programs to assist those needing help.  Experts could share their knowledge and practical advice.  Schools could develop curriculums teaching students about gardening, and also programs where kids could go to help seniors with their gardens.  Other volunteers could help with the most physically demanding tasks, such as building raised beds, tilling the soil, bringing in mulch, etc.

      Many communities have community garden plots available to those without land to garden, and could make more available if demand increased.

      Great idea.  Now let’s get to work!

    • Mike Card

      Didn’t mean to click on Like, cuz I don’t think I do.  When do you start recommending that we pick different parents?  That’s what you’re really talking about–you self-satisfied bitch.  I hope you end up praying for a city doctor who knows how to treat you.  Maybe.

      • Zing

         I can’t believe you haven’t been scolded by one of our high minded regular women, you sanctimonious little ckskr

  • Akilez Castillo

    Why do people want Older people to work when they already work 90% of their lives. Is it America or the world we live in?

    They contributed so much to Medicare and Federal taxes i think it is time for them to relax and just worry with their illnesses than worrying about vacation time, to argue with their bosses or how to use a computer.

    • Akilez Castillo

      There was a Harvard study.

      They said if society only allow poverty to disappear it will disappear but society will not allow poverty to disappear.

      • Steve_T

         The rich need to have someone to look down on.

        • Akilez Castillo

          I think by forcing to push their head down might see us from below

        • Tina

          I used to work for non-profits, and I saw in the 1980′s and early 1990′s wealthy people who gave back in the form of volunteering time and donating funds.  I went to a church that even more of these people, known thruout our State, attended, so I learned even more about their contributions.  I have no idea which political party they belonged to, but their  expressed sociopolitical and political ideas were NOT those of today’s Republican party.  These people were generous and wonderful.  They spent hours and hours doing the most mundane of volunteer tasks every week for decades while also writing  checks supporting major non-profit efforts.  I am still in awe of what their generosity allowed to happen.  

          And they didn’t blackmail everybody into giving them what they wanted before they would cooperate.  IF today’s “job creators” are so great at job creation, and SINCE they already HAVE their Bush tax cuts, WHY AREN’T THERE HOSTS OF NEW JOBS AND COMPANIES?  Sure feels like blackmail to me:  give us the continued tax cuts we demand, or we won’t play.  Either that OR they refuse to “job create” while President Obama is in the White House, lest people give him credit.  That kind of possible stalling is just as reprehensible as blackmail!  Meanwhile, on down the ladder from the top 1-2%….

          • Tina

            Actually, my experience with this  began more like the mid-1970′s.

    • Mike Card

      That’s what Gregg–of the multiple G’s–wants.

      • Gregg

        Please don’t tell me what I think.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.

    • Steve_T

      Ever wonder why old folks are grumpy? You may have hit a small part of it

      • Akilez Castillo

        I don’t know, it’s a quote by Mother Teresa.

    • RChicago

      Its all shameful – the fact that we ostracize them from society and let them go hungry. None of us grow younger we will all face these problems eventually.

    • Michele

       Until you have nothing to eat.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    The Federal Govt is the headwaters from which all Food Stamp money flows, so why don’t the Feds demand a single, one page form that applicants have to fill out? The Fed govt makes states do lots of things to make states fall in line (like when states either got a seat belt law or they lost big chunks of transportation funds)

    It is ridiculous that, and Wade mentioned, that TX only requires one page to get a gun (I’ve seen it, it’s not like they tried to print the Bible on one page, either) but they punish those that need the help the most by making them jump through seemingly endless hoops and dozens of forms, based on the  ideologically driven perceived abuses of a few.  Of course, TX is the same state that lets a gun license (which in the “cowboy states” vitually anyone that can walk into a gun store can get) be a legal form of voter ID, but a college ID isn’t. So: Pulling a trigger = right to vote, but education = disenfranchisement.

    • TFRX

      Saying a certain strata of people are “covered” by a benefit which they throw up every roadblock to keep people from getting?

      1) That’s a feature, not a bug. Texas has got that CEO shit down pat.

      2) It sounds like some of our red states have long been practicing “scrubbing” people off governance they thought they were supposed to be able to get. I’m a bit surprised that it took these states so long to apply it to voting.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

         It seems it not just the people that they don’t want voting, but the people that can’t vote that they dismiss as well. 

         The bigger shame is that the people that this type of thing effects most is the Greatest Generation. These are the people that literally saved the world from the tyranny of the axis powers of WW2. They already know what it was like to be hungry, first as children of the Great Depression, then again during WWII during rationing on the home front and the K-rations as servicemen.

        Let those in Congress, and anyone else that thinks  the US is too generous with who get’s how much in food stamps live like the people that need them for a few months and let’s if they’re still talking the same way?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    The AARP should be pressing for ways to get people that can help the elderly that can’t get out.  Enable, say, former social workers to go the homes and fill out the forms and turn them in to the various depts. 

    The home-bound elderly can’t get out, and it if they’re not seen, they’re not heard, and therefore uncounted and ignored.

    Set an army of AARP volunteers loose, and have the reams upon reams of forms showing up in gov’t offices  (send copies to the US Agriculture Dept, the Surgeon general, local Senators and Congressmen, etc.) and let the plight of those people see the brighter light of day.

    • Linda Drake

      AARP does partner with non-profit organizations to do SNAP (Food Stamp) outreach to older adults, to help them access this food assistance program.

  • Akilez Castillo

    In Germany, approximately every fourth person is over 60 years old. Because of the long-standing low birth rates and parallel increasing life expectancy, German society has the third-largest proportion of elderly people worldwide after Japan and Italy. Their ways of life and lifestyles have likewise changed and diversified a lot over the last decades. Nowadays the vast majority of elderly people lead independent lives, are socially active, in contact with their children and relatives, and for the most part in terms of health in a position to determine their own lives and actively decide how to make use of their time.
     
    Financially speaking the elder generation is for the most part taken care of: The 1957 pension reform gradually gave pensioners a full share in the nation’s wealth. Poverty in old age has not been done away with entirely, but the risk of being poor in old age is lower than that of other age groups.
     
    It is increasingly seldom for three generations of one family to live under the same roof, but there are frequently strong emotional bonds between grown-up children and their parents and between grandparents and grandchildren. A Federal Government specimen project seeks to strengthen and secure cross-generational ties. Almost every district and each municipality in Germany now boasts a so-called multi-generational house. The 500 subsidized buildings, to which 15,000 people are committed nationwide, form a point of contact, network and hub for family advice, health support, crisis intervention and care planning.

  • Gregg

    Glenn Beck is at the forefront of the charity movement. His “Restoring Love” rally last weekend didn’t get much coverage but packing Cowboys Stadium with folks determined to help those in need is a newsworthy event.

    • Steve_T

       how much money did they raise?

      • Gregg

        They filled tractor trailer trucks with food and sent over a million meals to 11 different cities. They (thousands and thousands of volunteers) painted housed, cleaned up neighborhoods etc. with their “day of service” campaign. They also visited and read to the elderly in rest homes. I don’t know about money raised because the emphasis is on sustaining the effort locally. This was just the start. The idea is for people to give on their own to their own communities not to give to Beck for his charities. For instance, there was a lemonade stand drive where kids all over the country sold lemonade (old school) and gave the proceeds to the charity of their choice. It’s beautiful.

    • Logan

      Well that’s nice, but that only works as long as people are willing to pay attention and put effort into such charity work.  What happens to these people when the passion and energy and focus dies down?  That is why government “charity” programs are so important.  The government may be acting out of law rather than the goodness of it’s heart, but the lawful compassion for the poor and the needy doesn’t fizzle out when the very real problems become unpopular with the conservatives

      • Gregg

        Charity is not the government’s concern. Charity cannot be legislated in my view but that doesn’t mean a reasonable safety net isn’t prudent. And you are right about sustaining it but that has always been America’s tradition. It was an emphases by Beck. It’s a movement. If we want less government then we need to take up some slack. The government has encroached on that role and the result has been a less caring, more dependent society. Nothing good comes from that.

  • Debbie Welch

    A Hubber on HubPages.com found out that Wal-Mart Super Centers throw out cartfuls of good food such as bread products, and milk.  If it expires within several days by the Best Sell By Date those food items are thrown out daily – even if bananas get a few brown spots on them – they are also tossed, and-including can products.  If a dent in a can shows on the shelf – it is removed and put into the grey trash cart – they want organized shelving with no dented cans – and these food items are good for a longer time.  Wal-Mart’s PR is so low lately – you would think they could donate to a food kitchen,bank, Senior Center or Meal on Wheels and the public would change their view about this big box store.
    Is there some way we could nudge Wal-Marts into doing such a thing?  They could feed hundreds of hungry people locally wherever they are located. 
    It is too bad that Senior Centers can’t offer a low cost lite dinner for Seniors at an earlier time such as 3-4:30 pm and if they had a couple of vans to pick up those who can’t get there.

    • KatieP7

      Wal-Mart is a supporter of Foodbanks across the country through their grants to Feeding America, the nation’s largest non-profit organization.  Wal-Marts across the country donate those products that are pulled off the shelves to local Foodbanks in the community, IF the store managers choose to do so.  In addition, they frequently make large donations of other product, not simply damaged or end-date items.  Do a little research and you will see that there is a lot already being done in senior centers to help meet the needs of hungry seniors who are often unable to get out to shelters or feeding sites.  Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem.  Donate your time, your pantry items or your money.  Every bit helps. 

    • KatieP7

      http://www.walmartstores.com/CommunityGiving/9599.aspx

      For more info…follow the link.  You will be amazed at what that big box store is doing that people don’t realize.  Happy reading! 

  • Seth Hancock

    ALL – Wait until my documentary comes out later this year.  I think you will be surprised at how serious of a problem SENIOR HUNGER really is in America.  I know I was completely shocked and taken back by what I saw and the struggles the people going through this process have to overcome to feed seniors or for seniors to feed themselves. 

    Make sure you check out the site and blog. 

    http://WWW.LEFTOVERSMOVIE.COM

    • http://www.larelldentures.com/ Lawrence Wallace DDS

      I listened with great interest about your movie coming out later this year.  I spend all of my time addressing this issue by having developed a method for making dentures in one hour at half the cost of normal dentures.  This is being adopted nationally by philanthropic organizations and I need to be able to expand its use to all the 37 million people in the US who, because of having no teeth have poor nutrition, greater chronic disease levels, and higher healthcare costs.
      I would love to give you more information on what we are doing and how we are helping thousands and thousands now.  We need to help more.  I would like to show you a photo of some of our people that we have helped through free dental clinics across the US.  
      Lawrence N Wallace DDS
      The Larell One Step Denture

  • Slipstream

    I am willing to bet that the problem of senior hunger pales by comparison with the set of problems related to senior healthcare.  There is medicare of course, but it doesn’t cover everything, and there is also the problem of long-term care for the many seniors who have degenerative conditions.  I am seeing this in my own family.

  • Michele

    This is why we need Universal Healthcare.  Drug costs would be regulated so that people do not need to choose between food and medication.  Heartbreaking….and frustrating in the so-called wealthiest nation on Earth.

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  • Logan

    People forget that the reason Social Security was implemented in the first place was because Seniors were starving to death in the streets. 

  • Gardenia

    We must not sit back and allow any human being, old, young or of any race to go hungry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/colleen.delcarlo.5 Colleen Delcarlo

    recall the congress and senate there the ones who care if a senior goes hunry or not  the seniors should be given food stamps to help them live and the ones oss should be able to get food stamps the laws need to be changed

  • JH

    I had heard that in the US, you are more likely to live in poverty if you are a child than any other age cohort.  I checked this and according to the USDA (http://www.ers.usda.gov/media/121076/err125_2_.pdf , page 11), elderly households are LEAST likely to face hunger.

    I just don’t understand the focus on seniors as opposed to kids and other ages. 

    The images of seniors picketing against the Affordable Care Act because they felt (incorrectly) that it may put their Medicare benefits at risk is somewhat inconsistent with this image of the frail and hungry seniors who need our help.  Further, the statistics do not reflect the picture painted here.   

  • Pilatesbwk

    “Many of the hungry elderly are obese.”  Hold on. Stop. My jaw dropped when the guest said this.  How is this possible? Can somebody please explain.  

    • mirnanda

      healthy food is more expensive — not just in cost, but in time. highly perishable fruits and veggies are the best for you, but if you don’t have a grocery store nearby that stocks them (or time to go to the store as often) then you will likely stock your pantry with things that will last and you can whip up anytime — macaroni and cheese, beans and rice, that kind of thing. the cost per calorie is low on cheetohs and high on broccoli.

      your opportunities for physical activity may be lower. because you work long hours, or live in a neighborhood where it’s not safe to jog or even walk.

      also, having irregular access to food can change your appetite cues — it may make you fill up on calories as often as you can without regard to when you are “full.” there’s a lot of research on the link between hunger and obesity out there. here’s some: http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAQ32JISDTCPJAGYDOFAQLTXSU Jenna

    I am 50 years of age I have been a stay at home wife and Mom almost all of my adult life. I put the first husband through undergraduate school. Supported his military time of 16.5 years and after 27 years of marriage I got left with 14K in total.
    I worked two and three odd jobs as long as I could. I have major health issues and it is not good to go hungry all day long.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OAQ32JISDTCPJAGYDOFAQLTXSU Jenna

    If I could get a great attorney I could get my alimony as hubby has $450K per year and has for awhile now.

  • http://twitter.com/AARPRI AARP Rhode Island

    AARP Rhode Island addresses senior hunger in “Hungry in the West End.”
    http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLFHcNOmb8uITI4kIUY4Mqat1-E8OIVnJ2&feature=view_all

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