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Indiana’s elderly, how are they doing?

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Richard Young
District 47
State Senator

Hoosier seniors are one of the fastest growing groups of people in need, and more and more people are reaching retirement age every year.

According to the Indiana Business Research Center, the number of Hoosier seniors is projected to increase by 70 percent from 2010 to 2050, eclipsing by double digits any other age group. Reports by the Kaiser Family Foundation paint an alarming picture for the status of Hoosier seniors, with 13 percent currently living below the poverty threshold.

What trends lead to this number of Hoosier seniors living in poverty?

It can be a number of factors. For example, not enough people are able to save for retirement while in the workforce. According to AARP Indiana, more than 1.4 million Hoosier workers currently do not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k).

Instead, many Hoosier seniors are relying on Social Security as their main income. While Social Security should be a part of a retirement portfolio, three in 10 Hoosiers rely on Social Security as their only source of income.

Another reason for increased poverty amongst Hoosier seniors is the rising costs of health-care coverage. This has caused 16 percent of seniors’ income being spent on health expenditures. In 2011, 1.34 million Hoosiers provided unpaid care for loved ones.

The economic value of that care is $9.4 billion – 4.1 times greater than the total Medicaid spending on long-term care services and support in Indiana.

So what can be done to help seniors and their families throughout their golden years? This summer we will study how to better support family caregivers by offering tax credits, specifically for costly equipment purchases. I continue to stand in support of the Community and Home Options to Institutional Care for the Elderly and Disabled, which provides case management services, assessment, and in-home and community services to individuals over 60 years of age, or people of any age who have disabilities due to a mental or physical impairment and who are found to be at risk of losing their independence.

More information on CHOICE can be found here:

http://www.in.gov/fssa/da/3508.htm.

Hoosier seniors face challenges in today’s ever-changing world and economy. In order to combat the growing number of seniors in poverty, it will take education of today’s workforce to better prepare financially for retirement, as well as education of today’s seniors regarding the services and resources they are entitled to.

I will continue to support proposals that ensure seniors have the resources and public services they need now and in the future.