Many Older People Can't Afford Basic Necessities

A black and white photo of a white woman's face. She is older with bags under her eyes, wrinkles on her face, and short gray hair. Armin Lofti/Unsplash

The Elder Index paints a realistic picture of the true cost of living everywhere in the USA. It reveals that more than half of older women living alone are poor and make just enough to get by. This article highlights the challenges posed by economic insecurity for older adults and the work of a new coalition, the Equity in Aging Collaborative, to use the Elder Index to advocate for policies that can assist older people who are living in poverty.

“More than half of older women living alone—54 percent—are in a similarly precarious financial situation: either poor according to federal poverty standards or with incomes too low to pay for essential expenses. For single men, the share is lower but still surprising—45 percent.

That’s according to a valuable but little-known measure of the cost of living for older adults: the Elder Index, developed by researchers at the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.”