This is a guest post from Donna V.S. Ortega, Program Manager for Income at AARP Foundation.
At the AARP Foundation, where we’ve recently launched a new structure, mission, and vision expressly designed to help us bring greater impact and positive changes to the lives of millions of low-income older Americans, our work will focus around creating solutions that help vulnerable people 50+ secure the essentials — food, housing, income and personal connections — and achieve their best lives.
Income, in particular, is integral to the ability of individuals to meet their basic needs, and an essential underpinning to economic security. The employment picture for older workers, however, is murky. Unemployment among people age 50+ is at its highest levels since the late 1940s, and it now takes them a year or more on average to find new employment. Given this reality, as we work to create solutions to help the more than 20 million low-income people age 50+ who lack the financial resources to meet their basic needs, we need to consider other kinds of income beyond wages that can help them cover their everyday essentials. We’re challenged to define income beyond wage earnings to encompass business profits and public benefits that can be used to cover an individual’s expenses.
The good news is that we’re not alone in this effort. In honor of Older Americans Month, Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) is hosting its third annual blogging event. Starting today with income security, for the rest of the week guest bloggers will discuss ways to build economic security for older Americans on the WOW blog.
We look forward to seeing what these national experts have to say about elder economic security, but we know that most of the best ideas originate at the local level. We want to hear what YOU have to say. In the comments section below, please tell us about programs and efforts in your own communities that are helping low-income people earn more and better manage the income they have.
Photo credit jima via flickr.