As reported in the Boston Globe, an updated Elder Economic Insecurity report finds more than six out of ten older adults in Massachusetts living alone, and three out of ten living in two-person households, cannot afford the basic necessities of life such as food,
housing, and health care.
The report from UMass-Boston’s Gerontology Institute – called “Living Below the Line: Economic Insecurity and Older Adult Insecurity in the States 2019” – is a follow-up on previous research that elevates the importance of supporting economically insecure older adults through policy changes at the federal, state and local levels.
One such initiative has been the Age-Friendly movement. Massachusetts was the second state in the country to make a commitment to joining an international Age-Friendly network administered by AARP and the World Health Organization where the aim is to better support and recognize the contributions of older adults.
The Commonwealth completed an action plan based off resident and stakeholder feedback and through a process led by the Governor’s Council to Address Aging. One of the themes that was established as part of the action plan focuses on economic security, with some major steps already underway.
Massachusetts also has 65 cities and towns committed to the process, in addition to many more focused on becoming more Dementia Friendly. Many strategies help improve or better utilize local levers for improving economic insecurity like property tax exemptions and work-off opportunities.
The UMass-Boston report also highlights the importance of the Massachusetts Healthy Aging Collaborative and its efforts to bring together different sectors to help address needs in housing, transportation and other domains that are considered in the economic insecurity index.
For more information, see the full report here.