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The Affects of Sandy for Seniors

The Affects of Sandy for Seniors

NJFA has partnered with NCOA on a few occasions to share a common message or service. NCOA’s One Away campaign has been something that NJFA has tweeted or facebooked about because we understand that many seniors (and many families) are one illness, one accident, on job loss away from a financial crisis. Now, as it turns out, they were just one hurricane away from financial disaster.

Before Sandy hit New Jersey, we knew there seniors who were living solely on Social Security. Many of them wondering by the end of the month how they’d make do until their next check. Sometimes, making a choice between food or medication or heat. NJFA has been aware of and worked on advocacy efforts for these seniors who are living on the edge of poverty.

NJFA’s 2012 Elder Index Update report shows that more than 25% of NJ seniors have difficulty closing the gap. We know that basic expenses in NJ for a single elder, in a one bedroom apartment are $27,960 a year. To read more of this report visit, http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/NJElderEconomicIndex2012.pdf

Certainly, seniors were among those affected by “Super-Storm” Sandy. Being displaced from their home, losing their belongings, are all things that may have pushed those living on the edge, over it. Those seniors may now be faced with not only how to stretch their dollars, but where to find dollars to replace their belongings or their home.

As we continue to hear stories about the people dealing with the recovery from the storm, we will see people like, Robert Ford, a disabled Vietnam veteran, whose family’s story of trying to save his home and keep him in it, was featured in the Asbury Park Press on Dec. 3rd. http://www.app.com/viewart/20121202/NJNEWS/312020047/Sandy-Highlands-veterans

In the article, you can read about how the family is struggling to find ways and money to rebuild the home and get Mr. Ford back where he wants to be. But it is not so easy for people that were barely making ends meet before the storm.

There are probably also many New Jersey seniors, who like Elaine of Maryland, who was featured in a video about senior hunger put out by the National Council on Aging, had her home flooded and wonders now how she’ll pay for the damage as well as continue to buy food, medication and pay for her heat. http://www.ncoa.org/get-involved/this-holiday-season-give-a.html

To find out about public supports and other programs that might help seniors in need contact your County Office on Aging, http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/services.html

NJ-EESI Update

In 2009, NJFA released a report called, the Elder Economic Security Index (EESI). The Index tells us the cost of living for seniors in all 21 counties in NJ. The Elder Economic Security Standard‚Ñ¢ Index (Elder Index) methodology was developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in partnership with Wider Opportunities for Women(WOW), an advocacy agency in Washington, DC. The Elder Index measures the income required for seniors to meet basic needs without public, private or informal assistance. Measurements are based on existing, credible data from publicly available sources.

 And now, in 2012, WOW has launched a National Database online so that you can see not only the individual state’s numbers, but can compare States and Counties. The database uses the Basic Economic Security Tables™ (BEST) Index and the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index) to measure the incomes workers and retired elders need to achieve economic security. The BEST and Elder Index present local expenses, savings requirements and economic security incomes by family type, and at the city, county and state levels.

 Not only are the 17 states that have released Elder Index reports available in this new Database, but all 50 states! There are many uses for this data and certainly financial planning or retirement planning has always been one of them, now people preparing to retire can compare costs across the country. It is also a great source for researchers or service providers, looking for data to support projects or compare their state to others.

WOW’s Economic Security Database¬†provides local information on how much families and elders need to make ends meet in one easy-to-use online tool. To view the National Database visit: http://www.basiceconomicsecurity.org/

 To learn more about the NJ Elder Index visit: www.njfoundationforaging.org/issues.html

We are pleased to announce support from the Silver Century Foundation to delve even deeper into the NJ EESI. With this support, we anticipate releasing a detailed profile of seniors living on the edge of poverty in NJ. This information should be released in June 2012. Stay tuned for more information about NJ EESI in the near future.