Not all have grace with which to guide their process.
Aging is something we all face. It seems to come before we are ready. It seems just yesterday you were graduating high school, getting married, having children and trying to keep up with life. Now suddenly 50 years have passed since high school, you spouse has passed, your children are grown with children of their own and you feel alone.
If you are lucky your health is good, you have sufficient savings and income to live a comfortable life, and you have activities to keep you occupied. However, that is not the case for so many.
Things always seemed to come up for which you needed to tap into your savings which have dwindled. Perhaps you still have a mortgage or you were never able to buy your home you have always rented. You have suffered medical problems which prevent you from doing all the things you need to do around your home and to go places to find company and enjoyment. Your children are all busy and don’t call or come to see you except occassionally. Your friends like your spouse have passed and you just haven’t the health and energy to go out and make new.
You are afraid. You are alone. You try to maintain the things you have the best you can. Your money isn’t enough to pay your rent, buy food, gas for your car, fix what is broken and buy medicine. You worry what will you do if you can’t stay in your home and you become homeless. You begin to have a negative viewpoint due to fear of life and events around you. Even when you speak with people your fear, despair and anger appear in your words and people avoid you as a negative person.
YOU WANT TO CONNECT, to have friends, to be happy, to share and enjoy life, but you have so many worries that you don’t know what to do. People do not understand and you don’t want to embarass yourself by asking them for help.
I see it happen time and time again. Even when you children have been there for you up until the time you are beyond their abilities to care for you, when this happens the parent become angry that they have to go to a nursing home. What about when you don’t have savings or long term care insurance to pay for a nursing home. It becomes a burden on your children to try to find a place which they can afford to care for you. They have expenses of their own and limits on their income especially as they grow older and face retirement or ill health at the same time.
TRULY – the aging are the forgotten. Society complains about spending money on programs but the elderly are in need of care and help. Even when we try to prepare one never knows what can occur to deplete the funds we need to live comfortably and with people living longer it gets harder.
You probably avoid watching ads like the ones for the older Jewish women who are crippled and starving. It is not just them, but many elderly women and men in America who are in need. They didn’t plan to be in this situation. It is embarrasing and makes them angry and cranky.
What can you do? If you have an elderly neighbor say hello and speak with them. Ask them if they need anything done. If their lawn needs mowed, offer to help or their bushes trimmed. Ask if you can get something for them from the store or take them somewhere. Often they are no longer able to drive. If it looks like they are in need of someone to look in on them call the council on aging or meals on wheels.
Write to your senator or congress person asking them to support medicare and social security programs. Do you realize each year when except this year of 2023 when social security increases , medicare does too and take up a chunk of their cost of living. Do you realize many live below poverty level? One elderly woman I know had her rent go up $75 this year, luckily we had the large social security increase which was just enough to cover her increase in rent. This however puts her further below poverty level. She has help with utilities, meals on wheels and get damaged and outdated food on friday from the grocery store. She can’t afford television, her children don’t come to see her, and she is nearly blind so cannot drive. She is crabby and most people avoid her.
Some in the neighborhood see beyond this to how bad she feels about her circumstance and tries to hide them, due to pride and we try to help her. We ignore her negative attitude. One elderly gentleman takes her on friday to get the outdated food. I help her with paperwork she needs done and listen to her stories, and help with food for her cat and dog. They are her companions in life. Her children don’t visit and rarely call. I am not sharing this for any recognition for what I do to help her, but to share just one story. She is one step away from being homeless, if her rent increases beyond her social security next year. This is her only source of income, for life and needs have used up her savings.
Many are living alone and not in senior communities. IT IS SCARY to be old and living alone. Be sure to check on the seniors. Understand why they are scared and cranky and listen. Most often in life we simply want to be heard, and know that someone cares.
AS A NOTE:
We need larger beginning social security amounts and they need to increase the cola each year to include any medicare increases. The government needs to take the cap off social security income for payroll taxes so that all are paying their percentage on all of their income. If ones on lesser incomes can afford to pay so can those on larger incomes.
This is one of the main topics for which I have great care and conern. This is a place in life we all face. If you are young start saving now. May you find yourself healthy, wealthy and loved in your older years.
I Am Marguerite