Our Golden Years Are Being Tarnished – Badly

Lynn Dorman, Ph.D. // Aging, human interest


July 22  

I posted about aging and economic insecurity

and here is yet another glimpse into what it is like to be old in America in the 21st Century.

We like to think the housing and foreclosure "crisis" has slowed down and that help has come to those who most need it.

But it's not true for the elders among us.

According to the AARP,  more than 3 millions older Americans face losing their homes.

As of December 2011, approximately 3.5 million loans of people age 50+ were underwater—meaning homeowners owe more than their home is worth, so they have no equity; 600,000 loans of people age 50+ were in foreclosure, and another 625,000 loans were 90 or more days delinquent. From 2007 to 2011, more than 1.5 million older Americans lost their homes as a result of the mortgage crisis.

We had years of no increase in Social Security Income, a very bad economy which destroyed retirement savings accounts, a lack of jobs, and ever increasing costs for food, fuel, heat, and medications. On top of this, towns and cities have also lost income and have raised property taxes to cover services. It became a vicious cycle and that has led to many of these foreclosures.

Older Americans lost their savings and now they are losing their homes.

What financial institutions are going to work out a negotiated deal on a mortgage or home equity loan for someone who has a fixed income and increasing costs of living?

What happened to the "respect your elders" that we used to hear?


Thoughts about what can be done?

  • My wife works in a home for those that can no longer care for themselves. As you stated, there is no extra money for their personal comforts. My wife often takes a few dollars and buys “her ladies” items life hair brushes, ribbons and bows for their hair and other personal items that helps a little. Sometimes she will buy them a pair of shoes or a dress for their birthdays. It is to bad that a percent of the Social security can’t be marked as “untouchable” and left just for them to enjoy a little something for themselves.

    • Thanks Chef William for the comment – it is a sad state of affairs when your wife has to spend her money for what should be a “given.” I like your idea of untouchable!

      We’ve gone the way of greed and lost our concern for vulnerable others.

    • Thanks for the comment Roy – yup – trickle down and R-style economy was a good deal for the top 1% – not so good for the 99%.

  • It is a particularly difficult time for elders. My parents are in the mid 80s. My dad recently moved to assisted living and requires stepped up care. My mother is luckier, her home is paid for and she has a great pension, 100% medical and no debt.

    It’s such a challenge to get my dad’s needs met. Every nickle that he gets from social security and a VA benefit go to his rent. There’s nothing left over. My brother and I are taking care of the rest of his bills and necessities. It’s a very good thing he didn’t own a home because that would have made it far more difficult.

    Thank you for raising awareness about the financial challenges of the elderly.

    • And thank you for your comment Julia. The economy has hit everyone hard but it is now improving for those who are younger.Not many places are hiring older workers.

      Glad your mom is ok and sorry about your dad’s finances…


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    About the Author

    Native of NYC who moved a lot, got several degrees, and has been a lifelong writer and reader... I am interested in many things - and I write [and teach] about them - especially the human lifespan and healthy aging

    Lynn Dorman, Ph.D.