AGING INTO POVERTY
THE LOOMING CRISIS FOR AMERICAN WOMEN
by Kathy Sharp
While one in five of us will need significant assistance with the activities of daily living or long-term care for more than five years, costing as much as $100,000 per year, about 50% of women ages 55 to 66 have no personal retirement savings. Aging Into Poverty spotlights the looming crisis for American women, their families, and communities.
Author Kathy Sharp details the history and public policy decisions that have consigned so many senior women to spend the end of their lives on waiting lists for care and dependent on public assistance. Aging Into Poverty is a compelling personal narrative drawing from the experience of a caregiver who scrambled to put supports in place as her mother, a retired CPA, outlived her savings as her deteriorating health needs required an escalating level of care. Sharp describes the options for senior care in the United States detailing the budget and eligibility requirements. The system is designed so that the dependent elderly must be impoverished in order to qualify for Medicaid which is the only source of public subsidy for long term care. Many seniors do not realize that Medicare does not cover long term care.
Sharp recognized that her mother's experience was not unique, and that her learnings and solutions could help other dependent senior women and their caregivers generate options and secure resources. Drawing on the work of Dr. Keren Wilson, one of the early pioneers in assisted living, Aging Into Poverty describes the framework for evaluating options for senior housing and healthcare which maximize autonomy and community.