2 in 5 San Diego seniors have to choose between rent and food.
Aging in America – The Silver Tsunami
- Today there are 40 million Americans over the age of 65.
- By 2030 the senior population is projected to more than double to 91 million seniors in the United States.
- There will be 11 million seniors in California by 2030.
Federal Poverty Level vs. Elder Index
Poverty is a common thread among seniors across the country. Many are struggling to pay for necessities such as meals and prescription medication. Making ends meet is a constant balancing act. The majority of the seniors who are living in poverty receive some form of government assistance such as Social Security and Medicare. These funds are critical but often aren’t enough.
The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) was created in 1964 with a one-size fits all format and does not factor in regional differences. The formula for calculating FPL has not changed since it was devised.
UCLA’s Center for Health Policy Research developed a better measurement that uses actual data (region specific) to calculate basic needs. This measurement is called the Elder Index.
The numbers below reflect what the federal government and the Center for Health Policy and Research recommend as the amount of income needed for food, housing, healthcare and transportation.
Federal Poverty Level
- $931/month or $11,170/year: Recommended income needed for the average American senior to pay for food, housing, healthcare and transportation.
Elder Index: San Diego
- $1,902/month or $22,824/year: Recommended income needed for a San Diego senior to pay for food, housing, healthcare and transportation.
- Many California seniors fall below the Elder Index:
- 41% of San Diego Seniors (2 in 5) will have to chose between food and rent.
- 48% of California seniors (1.7 million) don’t have sufficient income.
What Does This Mean?
- The senior population is increasing and a significant number of the seniors will not have adequate income to meet their basic needs.
- Intense pressure on our infrastructure – housing, healthcare, transportation.
- Many people, especially the Baby Boomer generation, are having fewer kids which means less family caregivers. This will result in more reliance on government and for/non-profit care giving organizations.
- Demand for services will span the entire socioeconomic scale
- As a region – and as a country – we have an opportunity to plan now for this seismic shift in demographics.
What Does Serving Seniors Do?
- We address the health and wellness needs of low-income seniors in San Diego.
- We offer a full range of programs and services through a collaborative model.
- We help seniors enjoy life and give back to the community.
- Aging, Women and Poverty in California Report (November 2016)