Thursday, May 26, 2011

Generations United's Response to Samuelson's "Affluent Elderly"

In a recent edition of the Washington Post, Robert J. Samuelson launched yet another broadside against Social Security and Medicare and the supposedly “well-off” elderly population in America [“The affluent elderly, Opinions, May 16”]. Generations United’s Program Committee took exception to Samuelson’s article and wrote a Letter to the Editor rebutting Samuelson’s argument.

While the Post did not publish the letter, we wanted to share the gist of it with you:
Samuelson’s argument is convincing—if you take his statistics on face value. But you shouldn’t.
Let’s begin with how Mr. Samuelson wrongly characterizes these important programs. First, and most unfortunately, he implies that Social Security and Medicare are retirement programs and that only elderly Americans receive “benefits.” Not true. These programs provide critical financial support to individuals with disabilities and their families, children whose parents have died, and families headed by grandparents or other relatives.
In fact, Social Security pays more benefits to children than any other federal program. Today, 6.5 million children receive part of their family income from Social Security.
Samuelson also claims that the median net worth (assets minus debts) of 65-plus households is twice the amount for households aged 45 to 54. What he fails to note, however, is that much of our elderly’s net worth is tied up in their homes. Homes which are difficult to sell even in the best of times, often because of the updates and maintenance required. You can’t modernize homes with a limited income. Nor can you eat roof shingles or drywall. It takes liquid assets to buy groceries.
But Samuelson’s most egregious misstep is that he advances his argument by pitting old against young. Such a tactic weakens the social fabric. A nation is like a family: we should and must work together for the common good.
We were disappointed in not getting our letter published. At the same time, we were heartened that the Post did choose to publish an opinion submitted by John Rother, Executive Vice President of AARP and a member of the Generations United Board of Directors. We encourage you to read Rother’s thoughtful letter, which appeared in the Post’s May 19th edition.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Happy Mother’s Day from Generations United!

Photo is Courtesy of: SOS Children's Villages
On Friday, May 6, 2011, President Obama released his Presidential Proclamation for Mother’s Day, highlighting the tremendous sacrifices and challenges women face in raising their families each day. The President also recognized the impact our mothers and the women who care for us have in shaping our lives and our country’s future; many amazing women must juggle not only family and work, but also the care of an elderly parent and the needs of our neighborhoods and communities. As the President stated, “[w]hether an adoptive mom or grandmother, mother or partner, the women who raise us show us that no hurdle is too high, and no dream is beyond our reach.” 

Generations United celebrates these remarkable women whose love, compassion, and dedication enrich our families and communities each day. Although Mother’s Day has just passed, there are still many opportunities to honor the wonderful women and men whose love and support has made a difference in your life. We encourage you to take time to do so today and every day. Here a few ideas to help you start: 

Create a customized video to tell your mother or loved one just how much you appreciate them.

Nominate your “Other Mother” for the award he or she deserves. An “Other Mother” is man or woman who "mothered" you when your own biological parent could not. These unsung heroes are sometimes grandparents, sometimes uncles, aunts, family friends, neighbors, teachers or even distant acquaintances who took it upon themselves to help you when you most needed support.  The grand prize winner will receive a well-deserved weekend getaway. Nominations will be accepted until May 22.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

It's Older Americans Month!

Image courtesy
Older Americans Month is an occasion to show appreciation and support for older adults as they continue to enrich and strengthen our communities.  
This year's theme—Older Americans: Connecting the Community—pays homage to the many ways in which older adults bring inspiration and continuity to the fabric of our communities, and highlights how technology is helping older Americans live longer, healthier, and more engaged lives.
The U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) is sponsoring the Connecting Generations Video Challenge in celebration of Older Americans Month 2011. The Challenge will bring together multiple generations to create 90 second videos featuring the roles seniors play in connecting us all. The AoA will post contest entries online, where participants can view and comment on all the videos. A panel of judges will select the top 10 entries, and the general public will then vote for the winner from the finalists. Entry Deadline Extended to May 9, 2011! For more information on the challenge, visit their website here.

This week President Obama signed a Presidential Proclamation declaring May 2011 as Older Americans Month. We hope you join us in acknowledging the contributions of older Americans during this month and throughout the year!