Frequently Asked Questions
Food Stamps: Who Is Eligible?
The aim of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, popularly known as Food Stamps, is to help low-income households buy good food.
Households may have up to $2,000 in assets, or $3,000 if a resident is older than 60 or disabled. Individuals must earn less than $ 1,127 a month.
Benefits may be used only for food and for plants and seeds to grow food and cannot be used for alcohol, vitamins, medicines or tobacco.
For more information, please call 1-866-762-2237. The Pantry of Broward has been designated by the Department of Children and Families as a site where we can process food stamp applications.
What is a reverse mortgage?
A reverse mortgage is a loan available only to people 62 and older. This government sanctioned program allows seniors to receive monthly payments based on the equity in their homes. When the senior dies or moves out, the house is usually sold to repay the debt. If the value of the home is less than the debt, the federal government covers the difference.
How many of the Homeless are Elderly?
An estimated 2-3 million Americans experience homelessness over the course of a given year. For most people, homelessness is a short, one-time event. But a relatively small and visible group experiences homelessness repeatedly or for long periods and places heavy demands on available assistance. This group, persons experiencing chronic homelessness, is most often made up of single, poor adults with prevalent disabilities.
While the number of elderly persons who are homeless is currently small, their presence is increasingly a part of the landscape of homelessness. It is anticipated that the number of older homeless will grow substantially as the baby boom generation ages.
Where does Florida rank in the nation for dangerous falls?
Florida ranks second in the nation behind California in the number of seniors injured in falls, a problem that claims lives and devastates individual lifestyles. An estimated 406,000 Floridian seniors – more than one in eight – fell during a three-month period in 2006.
The March 2006 Center for Disease Control report said, “Even when the injuries are minor, they can seriously affect older adults’ quality of life by inducing a fear of falling, which can lead to self-imposed activity restrictions, social isolation and depression.”
Falls are most common among those older than 80, affecting one in five, and among women. According to the CDC, most older people are in denial over falls. They are afraid to tell their children or their doctors or their building managers they have fallen, for fear their children will not them live alone any more.
What is meant by the term “fixed income?”
When we hear about people living on “fixed incomes” many of us assume that a person has a pretty good income from Social Security. But the level of Social Security retirement benefits are based on the amount the individual paid into the system during his working life when salaries were much lower. Close to 10% of seniors between 70 and 75 years of age receive less than $500 a month in Social Security retirement benefits and an additional 17.5% in the same age group receive between just $500 and less than $700 a month. When this is your only income, it is inadequate for basic survival in Broward County.
How do hearing problems affect the elderly?
HEARING PROBLEMS: About one third of Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have hearing problems. Nearly half the people who are 75 and older have hearing loss. Whether a hearing loss is small (missing certain sounds) or large (being profoundly deaf), it is a serious concern and very annoying for the senior. Hearing problems can make the person feel embarrassed, upset and lonely, often withdrawing from conversations and activities.
Neither Medicaid nor Medicare covers the cost of hearing aids, which can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. But for the hard of hearing senior, a hearing aid can be the bridge between survival and withdrawal.
Can giving to others bring you happiness?
Giving can bring you Happiness….
People who made gifts to others or to charities reported they were happier than folks who didn’t share, according to a March 21st, 2008 issue of the journal Science. The study suggests that, in terms of happiness, how the people spent money was more important than how much money they had.
The act of helping has its own profound effect. People need a humanitarian outlet, feeling they make a difference. The study found that the same parts of the brain that produce the good feeling when a person receives a reward also respond when they give to someone else.
Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
March 21st, 2008
Do seniors need to file tax forms to receive federal stimulus payment?
Did you know that taxpayers age 701/2 and older are permitted to make tax-free “qualified charitable distributions” totaling up to $100,000 per year from traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or Roth IRAs? Originally enacted in the Pension Protection Act of 2006, and extended by the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 on October 3, 2008.
- More than 60,000 jobs were lost in Broward County this past year
- In Parkland/Coral Springs, there was a 96% increase in need for food amongst seniors
- One in 14 homes are in foreclosure in Lauderdale Lakes
- There has been a 52% increase in meals given at local shelters
- Over 100% increase in patients seeking subsidized medical care in HollywoodBroward schools are averaging 300 new homeless students EACH MONTH
- There has been a 50% increase in 211 Help Line calls for housing and shelter
- 65% of Broward County non-profits are seeing an increase in demand for servicesSource: United Way of Broward County
More than 20 million drivers in the US were 70 or older in 2006. In 2007, more than 7 million drivers were at least 80, up 52% from 1997. Despite their increasing numbers, older drivers are involved in far fewer accidents than were a decade ago. In 2006, 4,035 drivers age 70 and older were in fatal accidents, which was 16% fewer than in 1997, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
For 41% of elderly recipients, Social Security accounted for more than 90% of their income in 2007.
Five trillion dollars value have been lost in 401(k) and other retirement accounts from mid 2008 through mid 2009.
Nearly one half of all US bankruptcies were filed by working families in the aftermath of a major illness or injury.
(Source: Elizabeth Warren, June 2009)
Seven percent of adults age 65 and older have an online profile on a social networking site. (Source: AARP)
If one million children being raised by relatives were to enter foster care, it would cost taxpayers more than $6.5 billion each year. (Source: Generations United)
In 1970, 3% of all children under 18 lived in households headed by a grandparent. By 2007, 4.7 million children – 6.5% of all American children – lived in households headed by a grandparent. (Source: US Census Bureau)
The number of people 55 and older classified by the Federal government as “discouraged” – meaning they’ve given up looking for work because they don’t think there are any jobs for them – nearly tripled from December 2007 to December 2008 – from 53,000 to 154,000. (Source: AARP Public Policy Institute)
The unemployment rate for those 55 and over rose to 6.25% in March 2009 – the highest rate since September 1949. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)
6.4 : Number of people, in millions, aged 65 and older who were in the labor force in February 2009. (Source: AARP)
ECONOMIC STIMULUS FOR SENIORS ON THE WAY!
Extra cash is heading your way if you receive Social Security or Supplemental Security Income. The federal economic stimulus package provides for a one-time payment of $250 to individuals and $500 for couples (if both receive benefits). Also getting a payment will be older veterans. An estimated 55 million people in the US will receive this payment.
Children under the age of 18 receiving Social Security will NOT receive this benefit, however children under 18 receiving Supplemental Security Income WILL receive the one-time payment.
No forms need to be filed to receive the extra support, which is non-taxable nor does it count as income for SSI purposes. Payments will show up by the end of May as an extra check or automatic deposit, depending on how you receive your benefits.
For more information contact The Pantry of Broward at (954) 358-1481 or www.ssa.gov/payment
MORE GENERATIONS LIVING UNDER THE SAME ROOF
US Census data shows a 25 percent increase this decade in the number of arrangements with multiple generations living under one roof. That excludes two-generation households of parents and their children under age 18.
According to an AARP Bulletin poll in March 2009 on how the economy has affected the living conditions of adults age 50+, more than one in 10 said they live with their grandchildren or their parents with 34% citing loss of income as a principal reason.
The number of multigenerational households in the US rose from 3.0 million in 1990 to 4.2 million in 2000. Many of these households are grandparents raising their grandchildren. At a point in this country’s history when President Obama has a multi-generational family in the White House, please take a moment to read up on the situation of multigenerational homes throughout the country. <Link>
South Florida has the nation’s highest premium rates for Medicare Advantage – and among the highest participation.
Medicare Advantage had 348,363 enrollees in October, covering 41 percent of all eligible beneficiaries, compared with an average of 27 percent in the 100 largest US cities. HMOs collected $1,160 per member per month in Florida, compared with an $865 average.
Humana, by far the largest Medicare Advantage Plan in Florida, earned $147 million on $ 2.45 billion in revenue during the first half of 2008, according to the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation, a 6% profit margin.
“A 2% profit margin is a good measure of success for an HMO,” said david Berman, President of Pompano Beach-based Eastwest Research Corp. which helps doctors negotiate with HMOs. “But anything over 5% is obscene.”
Source: South Florida Business Journal Nov 14-20, 2008
67% – The growth, from 2000 to 2007, in number of parents who lived with their adult children.
Precautionary health measures such as mammograms and cholesterol tests that identify the risk of heart disease are critical for the well-being of women over 50. Add the responsibility of providing sustained care for a grandchild, and these preventive examinations become even more important.
Yet, grandmothers in the first two years of caring for a grandchild take fewer preventive measures to protect their health compared to grandmothers the same age not raising children, according to a recent USC Davis School of Gerontology study.
According to the study, the number of custodial grandparents in the Unites States has nearly doubled since 1970, creating an emerging public health concern.
“Given that this group is already at risk for poor health outcomes because of their advanced age and vulnerability to chronic conditions, poor preventive behavior might precipitate a decline in health over time, a situation which could render the grandmother unable to care for her grandchild,” explained lead author, Lindsey Baker, a postdoctoral fellow at the USC Davis School.
In a recent paper in the Journal of Gerontology, Baker and co-author Merril Silverstein, USC professor of gerontology and sociology, looked at five types of protective health behaviors: influenza vaccination, cholesterol screening, monthly breast self-examination, mammography and Papanicolaou tests, or Pap tests, used to identify risk factors for cervical cancer.
Their findings indicate that grandmothers in the early stages of caring for a grandchild were significantly less likely than grandmothers not raising grandchildren to undergo flu vaccination or cholesterol screening. They were also less likely to get Pap tests, the researchers found.
However, after two years of caring for a grandchild, what was once a health burden becomes a potential health benefit. Baker and Silverstein found that caregiving grandmothers were increasingly health conscious once they made the transition into full-time care, becoming more likely than those not raising grandchildren to adopt preventative health measures such as flu vaccinations and monthly breast self-exams.
“Long-term caregivers are particularly motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle, in order to be prepared to care for the child in the future. As grandmothers adapt to their new role, this motivation begins to outweigh constraints on service use,” Baker said.
The researchers looked at more than 5,200 grandmothers between the ages of 50 and 75. The women were divided into those who had cared for a grandchild for more than two years, those who had cared for a grandchild for two years or less, and those who did not care for a grandchild.
The lower incidence of preventive health care in the first two years of raising a grandchild was true even among grandmothers for whom raising a grandchild was not a financial or emotional strain,, according to the study.
“This implies that even grandparents and grandchildren in households traditionally seen as stable and therefore not generally targeted by state and federal programs, may be at adverse risk if lower use of health screening results in greater prevalence of disease and disability among caregiving grandparents,” Baker said.
Baker and Silverstein write that healthy habits among long-term grandmothers do not fully offset the lack of preventive health examinations during the crucial transition period.
The researchers advocate for support groups that target a range of interventions such as check-ups, screenings and inoculations aimed at promoting healthy behavior among new grandparent caregivers.
“Many of these support groups are already available on a local level,” Baker said. “They provide ride-share programs or babysitting drop off centers so grandmothers can go through health checkups.”
Baker also emphasized the need for greater awareness, especially in low-income areas where many grandmother caregivers live: “They need to know not only that such programs exist but that services such as cholesterol tests and flu shots are inexpensive or available at low cost for many older adults.”
Notes: Data came from the 2000, 2002 and 2004 waves of the University of Michigan Health and Retirement Study. The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging.
Lindsey A. Baker and Merril Silverstein, “Preventive Health Behaviors Among Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren.” Journal of Gerontology: September 2008.
Source: Suzanne Wu University of Southern California
300,000 deaths in the United States are associated with obesity each year. 9 million children in the United States are overweight or obese. 37% of children living in Broward County area alone suffer from obesity, and other diet-related diseases such as elevated blood pressure and cholesterol as well as cardiovascular diseases.
“Silver Alerts” is a Florida-wide Amber Alert-like system which is activated when someone 60 or older who suffers from dementia or another mental condition goes missing.
The alerts are broadcast through the media (and posted on electronic highway signs for cases involving vehicles). If need be, authorities can also use the system to search for people under 60 who have a mental impairment.
This new program is one of only a few resources available to track missing older adults, even though more than 60% of US seniors with dementia will wander away at some point.
Florida has the largest proportion of residents over the age of 60 in the nation. More than 4.3 million Florida residents are aged 60 and older, and there are about 501,000 probable cases of Alzheimers.
CHOOSING A MEDICARE PLAN
Medicare recipients can start shopping for a 2009 prescription drug plan. Enrollment runs from November 15th through January 1st, 2009, although health plan members have until March 31. Tips for choosing:
THE CHOICES: 140 drug plans and health plans in Broward County.
HEALTH PLAN OR DRUG PLAN? Save time and work by deciding. Health plans such as HMOs generally offer lower prices than drugs-only plans but restrict your choice of doctors, hospital and drugs.
CHECK THEM ALL: Even if you like your present plan, double-check because virtually all will change prices and coverage, sometimes sharply.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: First, identify plans that cover all the drugs you take. Monthly premiums are a big factor, but also check co-payments and if the plan restricts the usage of your drugs. Check if you can use your favorite pharmacy.
WHERE TO SHOP/GET HELP: Medicare at www.medicare.gov or 800-633-4227. Florida Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders (SHINE) at 800-963-5337. Medicare Rights Center at www.medicarerights.org Q1 Group at www.medicare-partd.com or 904-461-8994.
Saving Services: Faced with falling revenue earlier this year, lawmakers cut many programs vital to low-income children and older Floridians. Potentially compounding those losses is Amendment 5, a proposed state constitutional amendment that could carve billions of dollars from the state budget, further threatening health care, public safety and schools.
A Circuit Court struck the amendment from the ballot in August, saying its title and summary failed to adequately warn voters that the measure would not protect schools from funding cuts after 2010. In September the lower court’s ruling was pending state Supreme Court review.
AARP is part of a coalition opposing Amendment 5 and urging lawmakers to take bold, innovative steps to support core services. www.floridaspeople.org 1-866-595-7678. (Source: AARP Bulletin October 2008)
HUNGER IN AMERICA: Read the AARP five-part series as they investigate the causes and consequences of hunger in millions of older Americans.
The average American family spends about 7 percent of its income on food. Those at the poverty line spend as much as 30 percent. (Source AARP)
Since 1991, the sharpest increase in bankruptcy filings has been among Americans 55 or older; the rate for those 65 and older has more than doubled. (Source: Consumer Bankruptcy Project)
60 percent of Americans 65 and older are having a tough time paying for food, gas and medicine. More than 10 percent have been forced to turn for help to families or charities. (Source: AARP 10/08)
The value of federal surplus food donations has fallen from $242 million in 2003 to $59 million in 2007. (Source: USDA)
The story of a female senior:
I am losing my mind over this and then Social Security tells me I may have made a few hours over what they allow the first 6 months you retire. I am tired, I looked after a very sick husband for 15 years, I worked 5 part time jobs because I could not find full time, by the time I did all our savings, company, house were gone. My parents were dying, I had one kid in college (scholarship thank you God) and one in Iraq. I was given a break when my eldest son (Marine) when his Dad died went out and bought me a villa. I pretend to him I have money and my other son lives in Iowa so he is also unaware, you just cannot put that burden on your kids. Peanut butter and bread are a staple and the 4.00 prescriptions taken in halves help. I just do not want to go to church anymore because I cannot really afford to give $10.00 a week. I have tried to get another job but no one wants a 65+ woman with no skills except cleaning houses and working at airports as passenger service agent, they only want the young cute ones now, even although you keep yourself nice and professional. Thank you for letting me vent I am just very depressed by the whole deal, I thought my husband and I were going to have this wonderful retirement together, and I would have fun looking after our parents until they were 100.
Source a reader’s comment
77.9 years: US life expectancy from birth in 2004, 42nd in the world. Source: US Census Bureau
$ 6,714: Amount spent per American for health care in 2006, the highest in the world. Norway is a distant second, spending $4,520 per person in 2006.
No Place to Call Home … Why Are More Older Americans Sleeping in Their Cars?
It is amazing to think that in America thousands of people, including an increasing number of seniors, are “living” in their cars. Forced out of their homes by foreclosure and medical emergencies that leave them broke, their car is a middle step between their home and the street. Technically, they are not counted among the legions of 1,600,000 homeless people in this, the richest country in the world.
This article from the October AARP Bulletin illustrates the gravity of the problem.
The Pantry of Broward is struggling to help seniors stay in their homes or rentals. In emergencies we provide limited help with rent or work with other agencies to cover the difference. The Pantry’s Case Manager reviews their whole situation and tries to find a more permanent solution. We cannot simply stay indifferent to what is happening.
2008-09 Free and Reduced Price Meal Benefits Campaign
Don’t wait until school starts. Sign up for FREE or REDUCED price meals.
Click Here For Information
As many as 400 seniors become homeless each year in Broward County.
Source: Broward Partnership for the Homeless
Food prices in South Florida were up 7.2% in April (2008) over the previous year, the largest increase in the nation. More than 38 million
Americans are being served through emergency food pantries,soup kitchens and shelters across the nation.
Rising food costs: In the past six months, 47% of seniors over the age of 50 are shopping for food less frequently. Eighteen percent of the same age group are eating meals less frequently. Source: AARP Bulletin
Don’t Miss Out on your Stimulus Payment!
Many seniors have still not applied for their economic stimulus payment, thinking that because they have no earned income that they are not eligible. That is NOT the case!
You have until October 15th, 2008 to send a stimulus form to the Internal Revenue Service and get a $300 or more payment. If you have received at least $3,000 in social security benefits, veteran benefits, or earned income in 2007 (or a combination of all) you are eligible for the stimulus payment.
It is very EASY to apply. Click here for the instructions and the simplified version of the 1040A. If you are a senior and have difficulty understanding the instructions, please call The Pantry of Broward and we will help you at no charge. (954) 358-1481.
The IRS estimates that 20 million people who normally do not file tax returns – including many seniors – are eligible for the payment. Of these, a little over half have submitted the necessary form.
HEARING LOSS AND THE AGED
Age is the main factor in hearing loss among seniors, with men three times more likely to loose hearing as opposed to women. One in five people between 50 and 60 years of age suffer hearing loss and that number rises to nine out of ten in the 80+ age group.
Bad hearing leads to other lifestyle complications. The elderly with untreated hearing loss are three times more likely to visit a physician and complain of poor health.
Hearing loss is the third most chronic condition in the elderly behind only hypertension and arthritis.
Source: Jim Botkin, Clinical Audiologist, HearUSA Benefit Group
Vision Impairment and the Elderly
Vision impairment, low vision and diseases that cause low vision are silently and quickly becoming a national health care crisis. By the year 2020 there will be an estimated 50 million Americans with a sight diminishing condition. One out of every four people over 75 are visually impaired. In Broward County alone, that is more than 48,160 seniors.
Individuals don’t think about blindness or vision loss until it affects them personally. Once it does, it’s one of life’s most devastating conditions. The top six concerns of individuals with vision loss are:
- loss of independence
- loss of financial independence
- No longer able to drive
- Inability to read
- Inability to watch TV
- Inability to see faces
Source: Eye Focus Technology, LLC
Broward County Benchmarks
- The proportion of Broward County’s population living in poverty rose from 9.1% in 1979 to 10.2% in 1989 and 11.5% in 1999. In the first years of this decade, it fluctuated between 10.3% and 11.5%.
- The percentage of Broward County adults with a self-care limitation has remained relatively constant over the period between 1997 and 2006, ranging from a low of 2.0% to a high of 2.4%. The population 60 years and over has a consistently higher rate, growing from 3.0% in 2000 to 3.9% for 2006.
- As housing prices in Broward County rose dramatically over the past five years, the proportion of households spending 30% or more of household income on housing also rose. In 2005, 42% of owners and 59% of renters spent 30% or more of their income on housing.
- Congestion on South Florida’s highways continues to worsen, leading to rising commute times. In 2005, the average commute time for Broward County residents reached 26.9 minutes, up by a 1.1 minutes since 2000, and 1.8 minutes above the national average.
- In 2006, 85.7% of adults in Broward County felt that race relations in their neighborhood were excellent, very good or good, up significantly from 64.5% in 1997, but down from 86.2% in 2002. Whites consistently rated race relations better than non-whites.
- Over the three decades between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of Broward County residents who were foreign-born more than tripled from 8.0% to 25.9%. Between 2000 and 2005, more than eight out of every 10 new residents came from abroad.
- In 2006, 95.7% of Broward County residents 60 years or older felt safe and secure, up from 92.6% in 2004. Elderly residents generally feel safer than younger adults, although the difference is small.
- Health status improves with income – over a third of Broward County residents (35.6%) with income below the poverty level rated their health as fair or poor, which is more than three times the rate of 10.5% for the population as a whole.
- The share of the population without health insurance is highest among those in the youngest working ages. There was a small decline in the proportion of these workers without insurance in 2006, but the elderly population without health insurance is increasing, reaching 7.7% in 2006.
- The average annual unemployment rate in Broward County has remained very close to the state average over most of the last decade, falling from a high of 8.8% in 1992 to 3.6% in 2000, then rising to 5.8% in 2002, and falling again to 3.1% in 2006.
- Per capita personal income for Broward County residents, which began the 1980s approximately 20% higher than the state and national averages, fell over the following two decades, and then stabilized in 2000 just slightly above the state and national averages.
- The percentage of Broward County adults that rated the services where they live as excellent, very good or good fell from a high of 84.7% in 2000 to 83.2% in 2002 and to 67.4% in 2004. One in twelve rated the services where they live as poor in 2004.
Source: South Florida Regional Planning Council
The Future of Aging: Percentage of population 60+
Source: UN 2002
It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life…we can never help another without helping ourselves.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
One in 12 grandparents in the United States are now the principal caregivers for their grandchildren. There are many factors which lead to this family disintegration, one of the principal ones being poverty, also known as economic violence.
FACTS ABOUT CHILD POVERTY IN AMERICA
- Nearly 13 million children—1 in 6 children—in America live in poverty. Of these children, almost half—5.5 million—live in extreme poverty, with family income below half the poverty line.
- A child is born poor every 35 seconds.That’s 2,483 children each day.
- Child poverty in America has risen since the year 2000. About 1.2 million more children live in poverty today than in 2000—an increase of 11 percent.
- Most poor children have working parents.The majority of poor children—7 out of 10—are in working families where someone works full- or part-time for at least part of the year, but they do not earn enough to escape poverty.
- Children of color suffer disproportionately from poverty. Black and Latino children are morelikely to be poor than White children. Approximately 1 in 3 Black children and 1 in 4 Latino children are poor, compared to 1 in 10 White children.
- The 2008 Federal Poverty Level is $21,200 for a family of four with two children. This is rarely enough to meet all basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, education, and health care.
(Source: Children’s Defense Fund)
15% of AIDS cases reported in Broward County are amongst seniors. (Source: Florida Department of Health)
Florida is the number two State in the nation with the highest level of Alzheimer patients. (Source: Alzheimer Association)
Almost 37.9 million Americans were aged 65 and over in 2007. Three in five people in this age group are women. Over the next forty years, the number of people aged 65 and older is expected to double and the number of people aged 85 and older is expected to triple. (Source: US Administration on Aging May 2008)
Statistical Profile of Asian Older Americans Aged 65+
In 2007, 84% of older Asian American men lived with their spouses, 6% lived with other relatives, 2 percent lived with non-relatives, and 8 percent lived alone. For older Asian women, 47% lived with their spouses, 30 percent lived with other relatives, 3 percent lived with non-relatives, and 20 percent lived alone.
The poverty rate in 2006 for Asian elderly (65 and older) was 12.0% while the rate for all elderly was 9.4%. The rate for Asian men was 12.2% and the rate for Asian women was 11.8%. For the overall population, the poverty rate among the elderly was 6.65 for men and 11.5% for women.
Source: US Administration on Aging May 2008
Florida has the highest proportion of elderly residents in the country. According to the latest figures compiled by the Department of Elder Affairs, 19.2% of Broward County residents are age 60 and older. This compares with 27.2% in Palm Beach County and 18.5% in Miami-Dade. Approximately 99,000 elderly Broward residents live alone and the need for personal assistance with everyday activities increases with age.
A SNAPSHOT OF BROWARD’S GRANDPARENTS
- On average, grandparents welcome their first grandchild when they’re only 48 years old.
- 77% of grandparents are married; 21% divorced and 2% single.
- The average grandparent has six grandchildren.
- 30% of grandparents have not yet retired; 11% is retired but still working part-time; and 50% are retired and not working.
- Grandparents are living much longer: It is more common for today’s 20-year-olds to have a grandmother still living than it was for 20-year-olds in 1900 to have a mother still living.
- Two-thirds of children born in 2000 will have all four grandparents alive when they are 18.Life Answers from AARP
MEETING THE CHALLENGES OF GRANDPARENTING
Broward’s grandparents, like most throughout the United States, say four issues concern them most:
- They don’t like living far away from their grandchildren: 45% of grandparents have grandchildren who live more than 200 miles away, making it difficult for them to spend time with their grandchildren.
- They are often unsure about how to maintain good relations with their own children and their spouses.
- They’re struggling to keep families together when divorce is tearing them apart: According to the US Census Bureau, one out of every two marriages ends in divorce and 60% of second marriages fail as well. When parents divorce, grandparents can be a great source of stability for their grandchildren.
- Many grandparents face the challenges of stepping in to raise their grandchildren when, for a variety of reasons, parents can no longer do so. This may include an adult child’s substance abuse, death, mental or physical illness, divorce or incarceration. Sometimes, grandparents step in if a parent has abused or neglected the grandchild.Life Answers from AARP
Children and Youth in Care in the US
- 513,000 children and youth were in foster care on September 30, 2005.
- 48 percent of all children and youth in foster care (247,645) were over the age of ten.
- 51 percent (262,706) had reunification with their birth families as their case goal.Source: Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) Report: Preliminary FY 2005
Kinship care (relatives as caregivers) for children and youth.
- 24 percent of children and youth in foster care (124,153) were placed with related kinship caregivers who were licensed parents.
- In 2006, more than 2.4 million grandparents were the primary adults responsible for their grandchildren. 
- In 2004, there were 9,891 kinship homes licensed as foster homes and 97,665 licensed non-relative family foster homes in the United States. 
— United States American Community Survey 2006. Table B10050 Living with own grandchildren under 18 years. Retrieved February 13, 2008 from http://factfinder.census.gov.
— Child Welfare League of America National Data System: Out of Home Care Homes and Facilities, Number of Licensed, Approved and Certified Homes and Facilities, 2004. Retrieved February 15, 2007, from http://ndas.cwla.org.
By the Numbers: A Wake-up Call!
Every 6 seconds, a US citizen turns 60… this generation of some 78 million baby boomers is on the verge of retirement. Many are financially unprepared and will depend on public or private support.
Florida’s senior growth will be the largest in the nation in both percentage and volume, exceeding the growth of California, Texas and every other State. Special attention needs to be paid to the needs of the older population.
By 2010, over half a million baby boomers will live in Broward County, 2 out of 5 will be at retirement age.
(Sources: US Bureau of Census, Broward County Forcasting Model, 2002; American Communities Studies Numbers, 2005; the Community Foundation of Broward, 2008).
An estimated 500,000 baby-boomers in Broward County will reach retirement age by 2010.
THE KINSHIP CAREGIVER SUPPORT ACT
Nearly 15,000 children living in foster care with relatives could leave foster care and live permanently with relatives if federal support was available to help with their care, as is now available for many foster parents who adopt children. Currently, relatives who become legal guardians to care for foster children permanently cannot receive the continuing financial assistance they need to help provide for the children they are raising.
The bipartisan Kinship Caregiver Support Act (S. 661/HR. 2188) would help children currently living with relatives in foster care leave the system for good through legal guardianships. It would also help relative caregivers find other services and supports to help them care for these children. Congress needs to hear that these children and families are a priority and deserve our help and support.
There are 550,000 children in foster care in the US – but over 6 million in the care of grandparents. So grandparents are actually the de facto foster care system.
Inadequacy of Social Security Income
According to the most recent data available from the Social Security Administration’s Master Beneficiary Record, the current average monthly social security benefit is $1,002.10.
According to the 2008 Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines, the Federal Poverty Level for a single individual is $10,400 and for a family of two is $14,000. The average Social Security Benefit is 116% of the Federal Poverty Level for a single person and just 86% of the Federal Poverty Level for a family of two.
If Social Security is the sole source of income for the individual, 45.3% of all Social Security beneficiaries are at or below the Federal Poverty Level, qualifying them for Food Stamps. There are several reasons why many of the elderly are poor despite Social Security:
Many retirees earned average wages during their working years and, since past earnings determine today’s benefit levels, they currently receive relatively small payments from Social Security. For example, if a fulltime worker retired in 1985, making him about 83 years old today, his monthly Social Security benefit today is just $ 480.50.
Other workers, mostly women, may have withdrawn from the paid work force for a time to raise children or they may have divorced before their spouses’ rights were established. Since benefits are calculated on the basis of each retiree’s total earnings over the course of thirty-five years, those who were absent from the paid workforce for long stretches are entitled only to relatively small payments as non-worked years count as zero income.
For people who live to a very old age, the social security benefits they started to receive at the beginning of their retirement are now inadequate due to the higher cost of living, especially here in southern Florida – despite the fact that Social Security payments are inflation linked.
With Social Security benefits providing 116% of the Federal Poverty Income Level, it is interesting to note that when the Gallup Organization asked a nationally representative sample of Americans in 1989 what figure they would use as the poverty line for a family of four, the average answer given by the respondents was 24 percent higher than the current official poverty threshold. Source: Real Life Poverty in America: Where the American Public Would Set the Poverty Line ,A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Families USA Foundation Report, July 1990.
As of July 2006, there were a total of 29,725 children in out-of-home placements under the supervision of the Florida Department of Children and Families. Of these, 15,570 children were placed with relatives and 13,975 of them were in the agency’s Relative Caregiver Program. Florida State policy requires that kinship care be considered first when an out-of-home placement is sought for a child in the care of the state. (Source: aarp.org)
More grandparents than ever--one in 12, to be exact–are learning to be parents all over again while facing the unique challenges of raising their grandchildren. Listen to AARP Radio’s segment of a Wisconsin grandmother raising her grandson after her daughter’s death. (Source: aarp.org)
“Aging” is not about a number or a year, but rather “learning ways to maximize your health so that whether you are 30, 50, or 80, you are getting the most out of your life and doing the things you love to do,” according to Dr. Brent Ridge, who specializes in the field of aging and is currently working to develop the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mount Sinai, a new facility for the management of chronic health conditions and for the promotion of healthy aging.
6.9 million Americans struggle to care for an aging parent or other loved one who lives in a far-away city within the US. (Source cfad.org)
Americans over 85 are the fastest-growing segment of the population. (Source: National Institute on Aging)
Today, there is only one generation per 2,456 older Americans; unless the specialty attracts more recruits, by 2030 that gap will grow to one geriatrician per 4,254 seniors. (Source WebMD.com)