Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Elders and Wisdom

"The same technological progress that enables our society to keep an ever-larger percentage of old folks’ bodies going has simultaneously reduced the value of the minds within those bodies." -Philip Greenspun’s Weblog

As the demand for a technological driven society increases, those of us that are not brought up to instantly embrace all aspects of this shift are quickly left behind. No group is more overlooked than elders. Skills such as the ability to "help orienting a rooftop television aerial, changing the vacuum tubes in your TV, Dialing up AOL, Using MS-DOS, changing the ribbon on an IBM Selectric (height of 1961 technology), tuning up a car that lacks electronic engine controls, doing your taxes without considering the Alternative Minimum Tax and the tens of thousands of pages of rules" (philg - October 29, 2009) are great to have (how many of us actually have these skills?!). However, has any of us (okay some but not many) ever stop to think why we have developed these skills? No, not for the ease of use for whatever but, really, why? What is the ultimate purpose?
Should these skills be valued over the conventional knowledge known as "wisdom"?
The way I see it, regardless of your opinion on the technological shift of in our society, it would be more beneficial to include the wisdom of our elders. It is more costly both economically and socially more desirable to take into consideration 60+ years of experience. All that knowledge would go to waste if we fail to include elders into the decision making, process, outcome, evaluation, and so on within our own organizations.

As 2010 is approaching, I am hoping we can all reflecting the role of elders play in our lives. And remember, just because it is not immediately observable, do not mean it is not impacting us in some way.

Happy Holidays!

MNALL Job Opening

Minnesota Network on Abuse in Later Life is hiring a Training Coordinator. This is a nine month-20 hours/week position responsible for coordinating and facilitating a Violence Against Women/Office of Justice grant curriculum as developed and presented by the National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life. Click here for more details and instructions on how to apply.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act

From Wider Opportunities for Women, our national partner

In February President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Among other initiatives, it provided a one-time payment of $250 to elders, disabled persons, and other beneficiaries of Social Security and SSI. The payment was intended to provide additional income to those struggling to make ends meet, and to stimulate the economy through spending on consumer goods. This one-time payment reflected an important step forward in helping low-income elders close the income gap. As shown by the Elder Economic Security Standard Index (Elder Index), every dollar matters for individuals or families who must choose between food, home utilities, prescription medication or other services or goods.

The one-time payment amounts to more than the typical older American's monthly health care expenses, as measured by the national Elder Index, and is almost equal to one month's worth of food costs. The payment is equivalent to nearly 10% of an elder's minimum annual food costs and nearly 9% of an elder's basic annual health care expenses, as measured by the national Elder Index.

The Social Security Administration announced that there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment in 2010. Members of Congress have responded by introducing new legislation, the Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act, that will extend the $250 one-time payment for 2010. President Obama recently announced his support for the extension.
To track this important bill, please click here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Employment Opportunity!

The Elder Economic Security Initiative™ at Wider Opportunities for Women is searching for a Field Coordinator to join their team!
The Field Coordinator will provide strategic technical assistance and expertise to WOW's state partners in the Elder Economic Security Initiative. The Field Coordinator will be responsible for developing and implementing a package of technical assistance services and materials to assist state and local advocates in promoting elder economic security as well as intergenerational economic security.
Applications will be accepted until January 5, 2010.
Click here for full job description

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick Info about MinnEESI

(click on image for a larger view)

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

The Bright Side of C.C.R.C.’s

I wrote last week about an inherent drawback to continuing care retirement communities, or C.C.R.C.’s: Within one facility or campus, residents can graduate from independent living to assisted living to a nursing home — but nobody really wants to.

DESCRIPTION Greg and Evelyn Hadley.

Readers said they had noticed this phenomenon in their own families’ experiences. Still, several found the concept attractive, if sometimes imperfectly executed. “Imagine what it’s like to have to rent a truck and move all your belongings from one facility to a completely different facility,” Charles Hartshorne said. “I’ve been going through this with my parents, and I will definitely choose continuing care when my time comes.”

I thought it might prove illuminating to hear from someone who actually lives in one of these hybrid communities. So meet Greg and Evelyn Hadley. In 2005, still in their early 70s, they sold their four-bedroom suburban home and moved into independent living at Mary’s Woods, a nonprofit C.C.R.C. in Lake Oswego, Ore.

When their neighbors need to transfer to assisted living, reports Mr. Hadley, a retired businessman and consultant, “I have seen the natural human reluctance to move.” He isn’t sure how he will feel himself, years hence, if an administrator tells him it is time to move.

So far, he said, “I know of no one who’s put up a serious stink when the staff says, ‘You just can’t stay here anymore.’”

The Hadleys are unabashed C.C.R.C. fans. “We have never, ever regretted the move, even though some of our friends thought we were nuts,” Mr. Hadley said.

To quiet the skeptics, he wrote an essay explaining their decision, including this list of theoretical questions and the Hadleys’ responses — a sort of FAQ. I’m passing it along, edited for length.

(It is so rational it may prompt some readers to wish the Hadleys would adopt them, but they already have six children.)


But you are so young and healthy!


Yes, and we are very grateful. But we might not stay healthy forever. We find it very comforting that our community allows us to migrate from our current independent living status into assisted living, skilled nursing and even a memory unit if and when we should require that.


Why would you want to live with a bunch of old people on canes, walkers and scooters?


We learned early on that our neighbors all had very interesting stories to tell and had led accomplished lives. People are not defined by their canes, walkers or scooters. Many are very talented, intellectually stimulating and a lot of fun to be with.


What did you do with all the lovely things you had in your home?


We sold them or gave them away. Our children really didn’t want much of what we had, except for small mementos. We thought a lot of our stuff was important but learned that it wasn’t. Our lives are not defined by what we have accumulated. We want our lives to be defined by who we are.


It costs so much money. How can you afford to live there?


When we sold our home, the equity was more than sufficient to cover the buy-in fee, most of which will be returned to our estate. Planning our move, we carefully considered what would be covered by the monthly charges and what would be eliminated. For example, we no longer have to pay property tax, a gardener, home repairs or utility bills (except telephone). On the other hand, lots of things are included in our monthly charges, like 20 meals per month per person, maid service every two weeks, all repairs and maintenance, a wellness center with up-to-date fitness equipment, a long list of activities. We determined that we spent about $10,000 less on daily living during our first year here than we had the last year we were in our house.


Aren’t you giving up a lot of privacy?


If you seek privacy, it is very easy to find here. All of us have a cocoon called our apartment or villa. If you disdain the social interaction in the hallways, restaurants and other gathering places, that is your choice and no one will nag you about it. For us, the social interaction is one of the very best things about living in our retirement community. We have never felt so much a part of a vibrant community.


You’re going to cut yourself off from all your old friends and neighbors.


Come on, that’s just nonsense. When you moved to a new home or town earlier in life, did you stop staying in touch? Our C.C.R.C. is about 10 miles from where we previously lived. We still see old neighbors and friends and delight in entertaining them here. You will only be cut off if you want to be.


I can count on my children to help me out.


Of course you can; they love you and want what is best for you. But is that what you want? Do you wish to burden them with caring for you while at the same time they are probably raising their own families and are at the most productive time in their careers?

When my wife and I decided to move into a C.C.R.C., just before Christmas, we told each of our six children that our decision represented the most significant gift we had ever given them. Never will they experience the gut-wrenching anxiety of trying to figure out what to do with us. We are in a safe place now. No matter what the future brings, we can receive the level of end-of-life care that we needed. Don’t burden your children with your elderly care. They will be anxious and troubled enough as they walk with you to the end.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Age Well, Live Well: A Town Hall Forum

Want to hear what others have to say about aging issues?

Here's an "oldie but goodie" video as well as links to other related segments on how Minnesotans can "age well." Click below for your chance to get a quick glimpse into the complexities when it come to aging.

Original Air Date: 9/16/2006

Big Picture

"Looking forward more than looking back will help keep you vitally engaged as you become an elder in your community."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

MinnEESI Review

Minnesota is one of 12 states participating so far in the Elder Economic Security Initiative, which involves gathering data on the true cost of living and advocating for action at every level (individual, community, employers, government, etc.) to improve the economic status of older people. In February 2009, Minnesota became the sixth state to present its data. In summary, the data show that many elders in Minnesota do not have enough money to meet their basic needs. Here's an example for a woman over 65 in good health, based on statewide data: The average Social Security benefit for this Minnesota woman is $11,233 - just above the federal poverty level for a single elder, which is $10,400. The median retirement income from all sources for Minnesota women is only slightly higher, at $12,691. But the Elder Index, showing the true cost of living based on bare-bones housing, transportation, food, and out of pocket health care costs, is $19,090 - a significant gap. Click here to download the MinnEESI bookmark as a handy reminder of these uncomfortable realities.

The project has also reviewed the helpfulness of various programs for low-income Minnesota elders: Supplemental Security Income, Minnesota Supplemental Aid, Food Support, Medical Assistance, Medicare Savings programs, Prescription Assistance, Energy Assistance Program, Housing Assistance, and Property Tax Relief. MinnEESI research shows that these programs are helpful for people who qualify - but many do not qualify. Housing assistance can move some of these elders up to 93% of the economic security Index level - but the supply of public housing and housing vouchers is very limited and therefore many of those who are eligible languish on long waiting lists. The MinnEESI project is continuing to investigate policy changes that might improve the economic status of elders, using the new data as a useful measuring stick. We also continue to connect organizations concerned about the economic status of older people. Over 40 groups so far have endorsed the Index as a useful tool.

Please stay connected and feel free to refer concerned individuals and organizations to us for more information. If you would like to review more about the project (Public Radio interview, op ed piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, County-by-county data, and more), please visit the national website's Minnesota page. In the months and years ahead, we hope to make a difference by spreading the word about the true costs of living, and by advocating for change at all levels of society.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Neuroplasticity in Later Life

UCLA researchers recently revealed promising findings suggesting the neuroplasticity of the brain in later life. Their research found triggers at key centers in the brain including regions that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web. The increased in stimulation of neural activation patterns during internet training could potentially provide insights into ways to enhanced cognitive functioning in elders. "We found that for older people with minimal experience, performing Internet searches for even a relatively short period of time can change brain activity patterns and enhance function," said study author Dr. Gary Small, a professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the author of "iBrain." The study consists of 24 neurologically normal participants between 55 and 78 years of age with little prior internet use. Age, educational level and gender were similar between the two groups. Study participants surfed the internet during pre and post functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, that tracked and measured cerebral blood flow levels in the brain. "The results suggest that searching online may be a simple form of brain exercise that might be employed to enhance cognition in older adults," said Teena D. Moody, the study's first author and a senior research associate at the Semel Institute at UCLA. Additional studies are needed to replicate findings but preliminary results might be able to unlock the keys into improved cognitive functioning in later life.
Click here for full story.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Research on Aging: The Inconstant Brain

From UCTV:
It was thought that the brain remained stable until the changes of old age occurred. New studies reveal an unsuspected degree of dynamic change in brain tissues that suggest neuroadaptive alterations in response to pathogens, drugs, and even experience. Join expert Terry L. Jernigan, PhD, as she explains the implications of this exciting new research.

5 Foods to Keep you Healthy Longer

From the Aging Fabulous Blog:

Who doesnt love avocado? Its a great source of Å“good fat. Healthy monounsaturated fat helps reduce the bad cholesterol in your body, which can cause heart problems as well as dull, oily skin. Avocado is also a rich in vitamin E, which can help maintain younger looking skin. Additionally, the potassium in avocado reduces fluid retention (and who wants puffy eyes!).

You have probably heard tons of nutrition experts touting the benefits of berries ¦ and they are right! Blueberries, blackberries and even black grapes are rich in phytochemicals ” flavonoid-powerful antioxidants. They help your skin at the cellular level, protecting it against the damage caused by free radicals. Put down that donut in the morning and grab a bowl of berries instead!

Salmon, mackerel, sardines and other fish that are rich in essential fatty acids ” Omega-3 ” are great for your skin. They will help keep your skin moisturized and nourished. If you really hate fish, you can get Omega-3 from flaxseed, walnuts, and other nuts and oils.

Whole Grains
Whole grain breads and cereals are high in selenium, which plays a vital role in the health of your skin cells. Also, if you fill up on whole grains youll be less likely to eat bread, pasta and other products made from white flour. White flour effects insulin levels and can cause skin inflammation.

Green Tea
Okay, its not a food but its still important. A cup of green tea few days a week is terrific for your skin. Green tea contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that will help stave off free radicals, which make your skin prematurely age. Green tea can also reduce the risk of damage from ultraviolet rays, thus decreasing your risk of skin cancer.

And, of course, dont forget to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Continuing to Work after Retirement Can be Healthy

Journal of Occupational Health Psychology recently published a longitudinal study by Zhan et. al of 12,189 men and women from 51 to 61 years old about their employment history, experiences after retirement along with their physical and mental health. The major finding is that people who report continuing to work after retirement also has fewer major diseases or disabilities than those who stop working. These decreased health risks were sustained for full- or part-time job, self-employment or temporary employment. A caveat is that retirees who found work related to their previous careers had the best mental health. Thus, while not for everyone, if one is able to find a job that is relatively little stress provoking, this can lead to good outcomes. These findings have been replicated in several prior studies.

Click here for the NY Times's article

Click here for the full study

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An estimated $2.6 billion is robbed from the elderly

Research indicates that the rate of elderly financial abuse are substantially underreported.
From the Broken Trust: Elders, Family, and Finances Study (2009):

In 2006, there were 21.6 million women age 65+ and 15.7 million men age 65+, or a sex ratio of 138 women for every 100 men. The number of females to males increases with age, ranging from 114 for the 65 to 69 age group to a high of 213 for persons 85 and over.11.

So, what is Elder Financial Abuse?
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder financial abuse is the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a vulnerable elder at risk for harm by another due to changes in physical functioning, mental functioning, or both.

Signs of Elder Financial Abuse:
  • Unusual worry about finances or fear
    of an individual
  • Unexplained trembling or crying
  • Changes in communication patterns
  • Any abrupt change in behavior
  • Overpayment for goods and services
  • Unnecessary services or household repairs
  • A set of “out-of-sync” check numbers
  • Increased ATM activity
  • Unusual cash withdrawals from a financial
  • account in a short period of time
  • Missing belongings from the home or
  • room in a facility
  • Excessive time spent on the Internet
  • A signature that seems forged, unusual,
  • or suspicious
  • An unexplained reduction in bank
  • accounts
  • An increase in the number and amount of
  • credit card accounts
Perpetrators by Type (Percent):
Trusted Professionals: 18.0
Family: 16.9
Caregiver (non-agency): 10.9
Caregiver (agency): 9.3
Skilled Nursing Facility/Assisted Living: 7.5
Medicaid/Medical Fraud: 6.7
Befriending (“Sweetheart Scam”): 5.6
Home Repair Scam (includes travelers/handyman): 5.6
Stranger: 5.3
Contractors: 4.5
Criminal (robbery, burglary, rape, drugs, etc.): 3.0
Neighbor—Friend: 3.0
Con Man: 1.9
Phone Scam: 1.5
Total 266* 99.8%**
**Does not equal 100 due to rounding.
Prevent Elder Financial Abuse:
Stay Organized
Keep belongings neat; keep track of possessions; open and send your own mail; direct deposit
Social Security and other checks; complete and sign your own checks whenever possible; use an
answering machine to screen calls and do not provide personal information over the telephone.
Stay Informed
Consult with an attorney about future plans, including a power of attorney; consult with an
attorney about caregiving arrangements; review your will; know where to go if you suspect abuse; ask for help from police, from employees at a bank, from Adult Protective Services, if needed.

Please click here for the full report

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In Her Own Words

MinnEESI sent out request for stories of economic struggles that elders are facing. Below here is a glimpse into the life of a 70 year old woman living with so little:

"I'm about 8,000 in debt, will not pay my house off until 2018 and have a $14,000 lien in additional to the mortgage. Need a new roof, defective shingles that would be under warranty if the seller of my house had pulled a permit or would look for any records. NO luxuries, no travel; theater or eating out only if someone takes me. And, because of medical such as dental, that is not covered, cannot get out of debt, medicines that are not covered by Medicare D, etc. Social Security, below national median; state pension is pathetic ($225), other pension funds will expire in about 10 or less years, tiny pension from the UK ($70). Medicare and Medicare D will go up next year, social security I gather won't.

Not sure how many more years I will be able to work and then no idea what I will do and am not even sure if the business pays enough to make it worthwhile. When I work (and business has been awful this year) I inspect houses for mold (have a doctorate in botany specializing in mycology-so much for "get a good education and get a good job"). I usually make about 11,00-12,000 a year from the business before expenses although this year income is down fairly badly -combination of very dry summer and people selecting to do other things with what money they have. Losing my sense of smell after brain surgery in 2006 also hurt my business because my nose was my most important tool. Surgery was not mandatory and surgeon did not warn me that this could happen. Am hoping for some sort of payment from the 2006 car crash, which will go to feed my credit card debt.

Most people have family they can turn to. I don't.

So, constantly worried to distraction about paying bills, whether I will get my property tax rebate before or after October 15th - difference between managing to pay and being in further trouble. I don't 'barely meet my basic needs', I cannot meet them

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Mother's Sacrifice

Why do we take care of our elders? Because they took care of us. Huffington Post detailed a heart warming story about a woman suffered from Stickler syndrome, a hereditary disease that causes blindness, and had to make a difficult decision to forgo her own treatment to save the funds for her daughters.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Children Going Broke Taking Care of Their Parents

Walecia Konrad wrote an article in the New York Times entitled "Taking Care of Parents Also Means Taking Care of Finances" published on September 18, 2009. In this article, the author cited that an estimated 30% of adults are taking care of their elder parents in some capacity. It is often the case that in the process of taking care of the elders, adult children can forget the financial consequences. In doing so, they rake up on their own savings put their own children in the same predicament later on. The author suggests taken several critical steps including engaging in a honest discussion about the elders' financial situation, making sure the proper documents are in placed, and consider hiring a case manager who specialized in geriatric care.
Points well taken.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Planning Your Retirement

Yesterday, NPR ran an article about planning for one's retirement. The underlying message is that you have to plan early, prioritize, and start saving. It also outlines the need for women to save more than men. The article did not point out the part of the planning process to include continuing to work as long as you a capable. It also focus mostly on middle- and upper-income potential retirees. These issues as especially critical as the economy is slowing recovering with no certainties in sight.
For a full article click here.

We want to hear from you!

MinnESSI is interested to hear stories from seniors and/or their family members about their economic security or lack there of. Please send us your concise story of economic struggles you faced. We hope to feature your personal stories in upcoming news, presentations, and events.

We are also building a wider community of organizations advocating for improving the economic status of older people in Minnesota. So, if you have events or resource information on this topic, please share and we will try to spread the word.

Email us at eesi@mnwomen.org or call 651-228-0338. We are eager to hear your stories!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Astor Trial

The topics of elder abuse and financial exploitation of seniors are rarely a focus for the mainstream media. However, in the case of Broke Astor, a long time philanthropist, conjures up these very issues. The case is still going on with little answers provided regarding whether Mrs. Astor indeed signed the codicils to grant her son, Anthony Marshall, a bigger share of her estate. The court is assigned to determines whether Broke Astor was "lucid" or fully competence when she resigned her will to increased Mr. Marshall's share to a cumulative 60 millions. Mrs. Astor was reported to have been diagnosed with dementia.

Click here for the latest updates on this interesting case

Alzheimer's Disease On The Rise

Yesterday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published an article outlining the increased in Alzheimer's disease, especially in low and middle-income countries. Alzheimer’s disease is coined after a German Physican, Alois Alzheimer, who first studied the condition in 1906. It is a degenerative brain disease that destroys brain cells leading to memory loss and potential alterations of one's personality and behaviors. It is one of the most common form of dementia that affected mostly adults 65 years old and up. It is estimated that 5.3 million Americans are living with the illness. The article investigates not only the financial cost of the illness, but also it effects on family members and caregivers.

Click here for the full story

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting There

Mary, Bonnie, and Belle presented at the Metropolitan Area Agency of Aging's board regarding the MinnEESI project today. Prior to the presentation, we had the opportunity to briefly watch a video clip shown at the meeting regarding elders' civic engagement. The video is part of the Twin Cities Public Television channel series "Getting There." Getting There comprises various open and honest dialogues on issues regarding elders. The more impressive aspect of these dialogs are the panel-approach in much multiple experts and laypersons are all involved in the discussions.
While civic engagement is important across the lifespan, it is especially critical in the older population. In this particular segment, the panel discussed each person's definition of civic engagement as well as the multitude of benefits of civic engagement. Please click here for the direct link of this episode.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Caring For Elders

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Mn) recently co-introduce a bill -American Giving Care to Elders Act- that would give tax credit of up to $1,200 a year to broaden services for elders including the "caregiver coaching" that many elders needed. While not a huge leap, it is a more positive step caring for aging family members. It would also enable elders to staying in their home, even just a few months longer...
Click here for the full article

Thursday, September 10, 2009

If You Build It (They) Will Come

I ran across an article from South Florida Business Journal from awhile back but it's still note worthy. The article explores the concept of "aging-in-place" in which businesses are increasing building or fixing houses so that elders are able to reside in their home more comfortably and safely. It brings up the idea that many so called "baby boomers" do not want to live in institutions and would rather live in their own home if given choice. Thus, houses made for these elders must be modified. Changes to the house would consist simple modifications such as larger faucets, wider doors, and easier to navigate household fixtures. Other architectural changes include replacing bathtub with showers, wood floors, built in elevators, and so on. The overall message is to create more mobility homes that are also aesthetically pleasing. In all, the article does a decent job (despite lacking depth) of outlining the need for more "elder friendly" homes and brought to light the idea that our current housing system is unfavorable for our aging population.
For the full article click here.

Belle Khuu

Hello From Belle

My name is Belle Khuu, and I am starting my first year at University of Minnesota School of Social Work. I'm really excited to be a part of the Minnesota Women's Consortium for my internship because it has been both an academic and personal interest of mine to get involved with women's issues. Growing up in a predominantly patriarchal society, I have always been discontented about the treatment of women. It wasn't until my freshman year in college through sociology classes that I began to learn about the unequal treatment of women on a systematic level in society. From those moments on, it has always been a mission of mine to work toward advancing women's rights.

I completed my undergraduate studies in 2007 at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science in sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and philosophy. In conjunction with the internship, I also work as a research coordinator for the University of Minnesota Schizophrenia Program. My role with the program includes coordinating between clinical services and patient care as well as serving as the therapist for the metabolic studies and the being the neurocognitive assessor for the cognition trials.

I am looking forward to making a difference for women and elders. Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas that you might have.
I can be contacted at eesi@mnwomen.org / 651-228-0338.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thank you!

Today is my last day with the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative. I am leaving the project to begin my Master of Social Work at the University of Minnesota.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with MinnEESI, the Minnesota Women's Consortium and Wider Opportunities for Women. I believe that the Initiative will introduce the future of elder economic security and am honored to be part of its beginning.

Thank you to the Minnesota Women's Consortium and Wider Opportunities for Women for your support, enthusiasm and pioneering. A special thanks to our endorsers, who believed in us from the start.

I am leaving MinnEESI in the very capable hands of Belle Khuu. Belle starts September 8, and you will hear from her right away on this blog and in our MinnEESI update.

Thank you and best of luck in carrying on this important project,
Marie Nelson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

101-year old lawyer named Outstanding Oldest Worker

From the ABA Journal:

A 101-year-old Dallas-area lawyer is in his law office at 6:30 every morning, working a full day in his real estate and probate practice.

Lawyer Jack Borden’s dedication to hard work has earned him a new honor: outstanding oldest worker for 2009, awarded by the group Experience Works, the Dallas Morning News reports.

“At 101 years old, Jack Borden often gets asked two questions,” the story begins. “What's the secret to a long life? and When are you going to give up chewing tobacco?

“He dismisses the first (‘Not dying’) and simply ignores the second.”

Borden has been the district attorney of Parker County; the mayor of Weatherford, Texas; and an FBI agent. Today he practices law, co-hosts a radio program on Parker County history and serves as a church greeter.

"People ask me why I'm still working," he told the Morning News. "When I was 5 years old, my dad handed me a hoe and said the corn needs weeding. And that's how I got started."

"If I quit, I'll die,” he told the newspaper. “I know people who retire and two years later, they're gone."

By Marie Nelson

Monday, August 3, 2009

Staff changes at MinnEESI

Marie Nelson, MinnEESI's Project Coordinator, is leaving MinnEESI on August 14. Marie has been with MinnEESI since September 2008, and is leaving to begin her Master of Social Work at the University of Minnesota.

Help us welcome Belle Khuu! Below is a message from Belle:

"Hi, my name is Belle Khuu and I completed my undergraduate studies in 2007 from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a Bachelor of Science in sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and philosophy. I currently work as a research coordinator for the Schizophrenia Program at the University of Minnesota. My role with the program includes coordinating between clinical services and patient care, serving as the Behavioral Therapist for the metabolic studies, and administering neurocognitive assessments for the cognition trials.

Starting this fall, I am working toward a Master of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. I will be interning at the Minnesota's Women Consortium as part of my internship. I am ecstatic to intern for the MN's Women Consortium because of my deep interest in gender issues and advancing women's rights. Studying sociology as an undergrad has enabled me to understand the interaction between the various "ism" in society and fuels me toward making social change. I am looking forward to working and contributing toward advancing women's rights. Feel free to contact me with any questions or ideas that you'd like to share. I'd love to hear from you!"

Belle can be contacted at eesi@mnwomen.org / 651-228-0338. Belle will start September 8, and Minnesota Women's Consortium Executive Director, Bonnie Watkins, will coordinate MinnEESI until Belle begins. Thanks for your patience during this transition.

By Marie Nelson

Job Opportunity

Elderberry Institute, a nonprofit statewide resource center for Living At Home/ Block Nurse Programs, seeks an Executive Director. Requires a minimum 5 years of nonprofit leadership and management experience. Application deadline is August 31. Full job description, where to send resume and cover letter, and more information at www.elderberry.org.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Minnesota Women's Consortium 2009 recipient of Laura Waterman Wittstock Award

The Minnesota Women's Consortium was awarded the honor by Community Shares Minnesota, a community-based fund for social justice. Consortium representatives accepted the award at a Community Shares Minnesota board meeting on July 23. The Minnesota Women's Consortium is the lead partner of the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative.

MinnEESI is honored to have the Minnesota Women's Consortium as its lead partner. The Minnesota Women's Consortium is the only one of its kind in the country. As a statewide collaboration of 160+ member organizations, the Consortium serves as a resource center to enhance equality and justice for women and children.

Congratulations, Minnesota Women's Consortium!

By Marie Nelson

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

New York Times: A Boot Camp to Prepare for Retirment

Do you know what you're getting into for your retirement? Data from the Elder Index shows that most elders cannot make ends meet and we are just now beginning to understand the cost of retirement.

The New York Times showcased two partners in a financial advisory practice in North Carolina who run their clients through a "retirement bootcamp." It helps their clients prepare for life in retirement by evaluating their expectations, current lifestyle, and economic preparedness.

The bootcamp encourages the following from participants: (1) an analysis of current cash-flow, (2) a net worth statement, (3) insurance audit, (4) goal setting, (5) a plan to increase savings before retiring, (6) tax planning, (7) charitable giving, (8) estate planning, (9) pseudoretirement (an explanation of what your retirement will be like).

Data from the Elder Index can be tremendously helpful in planning your retirement. To access the Minnesota Elder Index, click here. For other states, click here.

By Marie Nelson

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Daughter is charged in suspected 'elder abuse'

A 42-year old North St. Paul woman has been charged with stealing more than $220,000 from her mother. For the full article, visit the Star Tribune website.

If you need help to address elder abuse, visit the Minnesota Network on Abuse in Later Life website. Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

U.S. official says seniors' caregivers need more support

From an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "As recession-battered Americans grapple with lower economic expectations, government should refocus its spending to help frail aged people and their families avoid costly institutional care -- a move already begun in Minnesota -- the nation's top aging official said Tuesday in Minneapolis."

For the full article on the statement made at the n4a conference, click here.

By Marie Nelson

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do you receive our e-newsletter?

The Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative emails a FREE e-newsletter every Monday. Are you on our mailing list?

Sign up to receive information on important dates for aging conferences and meetings, local articles on aging issues, links to this blog, calls to action, and other important information on the Minnesota aging community.

To sign up, email Marie Nelson at eesi@mnwomen.org.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

MPR Report: Spousal abuse can last a lifetime

MPR aired a report on domestic abuse among elder couples. This insightful report highlighted special issues related to later life abuse, including cultural and generational differences and lack of resources to find help.

You can read the article or listen to the report on the MPR website.

The following resources can assist those dealing with domestic abuse:
  • Senior LinkAge Line: 1-800-333-2433
  • Minnesota Domestic Violence Crisis Line: 1-866-223-1111
  • If not in Minnesota, the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
By Marie Nelson

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What's next? Life planning for women

The "What's next?" life planning for women program has moved from a focus group to a pilot program. They will offer the program starting on Sunday, August 2. Programs run from 4:00-7:00 at The Wellington in St. Paul. You can register by calling 651-690-4111. The cost of the program is only $20, which includes a $25 book. Light refreshments will be served. Please see the flyer at left for additional information.

By Marie Nelson

ElderCare Rights Alliance 2nd Annual Film Festival

The ElderCare Rights Alliance is hosting its second film festival on Wednesday, September 16 at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis.

The films focus on aging issues and stories. Continuing education credits are available. Click on the image at the left for more information, or call ElderCare Rights Alliance at 952-854-7304.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Connect with us at the n4a Annual Conference and Tradeshow

We are pleased to present at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging's annual conference, which takes place July 18-22 in Minneapolis. We are participating in a workshop to introduce the National Elder Economic Security Initiative, including a special focus on findings in Minnesota. Our presentation is on Tuesday, July 21 at 3:15. The presentation description is as follows:

This workshop will introduce the National Elder Economic Security Initiative Program (the Initiative). The Initiative offers a concrete framework and tools to promote the economic well-being of elders through a combination of coalition building, research, education, advocacy and media outreach. Workshop participants will learn how the Initiative and its guiding tool, the Elder Economic Security Standard Index, are being applied at the national, state and community levels to inform AAA policies and programming.


  • Stacy Sanders, Field Organizer for the Elder Economic Security Initiative, Wider Opportunities for Women
  • Mary Olsen Baker, Retirement Resources Consultant, Transform 2010, Department of Human Services
  • Marie Nelson, Minnesota Women's Consortium
Please connect with us at this conference! To register, click here.

By Marie Nelson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Join our Facebook page!

We have a new page on Facebook and want you to become our fan! To join the group, you need to have a Facebook account (to sign up, click here). To join our group, find it through the search engine in the upper right corner while on your Facebook home page. Search "Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative" and select the first option, with the Minnesota image. While on the MinnEESI page, select to become our fan!

For questions on how to join our Facebook page, contact Marie Nelson at 651-228-0338 or eesi@mnwomen.org.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Minnesota Senior Federation Dissolving

The Minnesota Senior Federation is dissolving July 1, 2009 as the result of accumulated debts. Most of the Minnesota Senior Federation's programs will continue, but we are waiting to hear about the future of their advocacy work. For the full article from the Star Tribune, click here.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gov. Pawlenty cuts renter's credit by 30 percent

The following is from an article in the Star Tribune:

Smaller, less noticeable cuts abound. The credit for renters will drop by nearly 30 percent.

For further developments, check the Minnesota Budget Project's website. For the complete article on Pawlenty's budget cuts, click here. The renter's credit provides economic relief to about 275,000 households in Minnesota.

By Marie Nelson

Gov. Pawlenty cuts elder care

The following is from an article in the Pioneer Press:


What would be cut: $7.5 million by capping home care hours, $5.9 million by adjusting nursing home rate adjustments for the years covering July 2009 through June 2011.

When the cut would begin: July 1, 2009.

Potential impact: With more than a quarter of nursing homes in financial jeopardy, the withdrawal of rate increases may force some to close and reduce access for seniors. Rate adjustments to compensate for inflation already had been eliminated for 2011, but Pawlenty pushed the schedule up one year. Similarly, the state budget already capped personal care aides, or PCAs, at no more than 310 hours of work per month. Pawlenty would cut that to 275 hours. The cap could eliminate some fraudulent billing to the state — some PCAs claimed more than 24 hours of work in a day — but also push some quality aides out of the business. Seniors needing round-the-clock care may struggle to find help and end up in expensive nursing homes sooner than planned.

For the full article detailing Pawlenty's budget cuts, click here.

By Marie Nelson

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Minnesota elders need more advocates

Volunteers of America is seeking advocates for elderly Minnesotans who have no close family or friends to help make medical decisions when they can't do it themselves. Read more about these "elder orphans" in this Star Tribune article.

By Marie Nelson

Action Alert: Help Women and Low-Income Workers Gain Green Jobs From Climate Change Bill

Women and other disproportionately low-income workers will be able to get on a pathway to economic security in new green jobs if Congress adopts a provision targeting jobs and training. A proposal is being circulated by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee.

Wider Opportunities for Women has been working with him and a broad coalition to ensure that groups traditionally left out of construction gain a foothold as a result of federal spending on energy projects in the energy bill.

Ask your representative to contact Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. George Miller (D-CA), chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, and urge them to support such a proposal. They are in the process of preparing the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA) for floor action as early as June 24.

By Marie Nelson

Monday, June 15, 2009

50 Ways to Love Your Money

Below is an article by Jason Alderman, who authors the weekly column Practical Money Matters. This article includes a guide developed by AARP Financial and Chase.

There's no getting around it: Baby boomers are officially middle-aged. Millions of Americans born in 1959 will turn 50 this year; and many boomers born right after World War II have already begun receiving Social Security benefits.

Chances are that most boomers didn't grow up with the same depression-era mentality as their parents, which explains why some find it difficult to live within their means and probably haven't saved as much as they should for a rainy day or retirement.

And, when you consider soaring costs for health care, energy and food – coupled with falling housing prices and stock values – it's easy to see why many worry their retirement savings might run out too soon.

Whether you're rapidly approaching the half-century mark or have already passed it by, here are a few financial questions you should probably be asking yourself:
  • Am I saving enough for retirement?
  • Do I understand how Social Security and other retirement benefits work?
  • Is my budget realistic? If I don't already have one, where do I start?
  • How do interest rates impact the true cost of loans and credit purchases?
  • What's my credit score and why is it so important?
  • How can banking fees and penalties impact my account balances?
  • Where can I turn if my debt gets out of control?
  • How can I balance raising kids and assisting aging parents while protecting my own financial future?
If you are over 50 and need help thinking through these questions, check out "50 Ways to Love Your Money," a clear and simple guide created by AARP Financial and Chase. It's found at Practical Money Skills for Life, Visa's free personal financial management site (www.practicalmoneyskills.com/boomerguide).

"50 Ways" contains 50 easy-to-follow tips on how to live happily within your means, create and manage a budget and use banking products and other financial services wisely. It also contains web links and phone numbers where you can get more information on a host of important retirement-related topics.

Answering the question about saving enough for retirement, AARP Financial and Chase recommend planning to have 60 to 80 percent of pre-retirement income to maintain your current lifestyle after retirement. How you get there depends on many factors, including:
  • Expected benefits from Social Security, 401(k) plan, pension, IRA and personal savings.
  • When you started saving – the earlier you begin, the greater your savings will "compound" or grow.
  • How your savings and retirement accounts are invested – higher-risk investments like stocks have greater potential for growth, but also greater risks in the short term.
  • Age at retirement and expected lifespan.
  • Expected inflation and tax rates after retirement.
Many online calculators are available to help you estimate your retirement income needs, like the ones offered by Fidelity Investments (http://personal.fidelity.com/retirement) and Bankrate.com (www.bankrate.com/calculators). Or consult a professional financial planner for a more personalized strategy – www.plannersearch.org can help you locate one.

Even if you're not quite ready for – or able to afford – retirement just yet, it's still a good idea to prepare yourself now so that when the time comes, you won't be caught off guard.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MSW Internship Available with MinnEESI

The Minnesota Women's Consortium is developing a new internship for students pursuing their Master of Social Work.

This placement is open to first or second year students with an interest in gerontology, policy, or community organizing. The placement is for the duration of the 2009-10 school year.

The intern would have an opportunity to work with poverty and economic issues, legislation, policy writing, communication, and curriculum and program development, all within the context of gerontology. For more information on the MinnEESI project, click here. For more information on the Minnesota Women's Consortium, click here.

The intern will have their own workspace with a computer and phone in an open office. A car is not necessary.

If you are interested, please email your resume to Marie Nelson at eesi@mnwomen.org. We hope to schedule interviews as soon as possible.

By Marie Nelson

Monday, June 1, 2009

Elder couple spreads joy at the Mayo Clinic

This elder couple got their hands on the lobby piano in the Mayo Clinic. The result is a lot of laughter. Fran and Marlo Cowan have been married 62 years.

By Marie Nelson

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity Restoring Foreclosed Homes

Habitat for Humanity is shifting from building new homes in the suburbs to restoring old homes in the city. They are working with projects such as painting homes, replacing siding and landscaping. The new approach is to attempt to change a neighborhood rather than build at sites scattered throughout the Twin Cities.

You can read more about Habitat for Humanity's new project here.

By Marie Nelson

Individual Development Accounts in Minnesota

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are special savings accounts designed to encourage low-wage workers to build assets through matched savings, financial education, and financial coaching. Dr. Michael Sherraden, author of Assets and the Poor and the Director of the Center for Social Development at the Washington University in St. Louis, developed the concept of IDAs in the early 1990s as a vehicle to help people in poverty to accumulate assets.

Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM): Statewide IDA Program
Launched in 1999, Minnesota’s statewide IDA program, Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM) is made possible through federal, state, and private funding. IDA accounts can be used towards acquisition of one of three assets.
  • Home Ownership
  • Launching a Small Business
  • Higher Education
FAIM is delivered by a 28-site collaborative comprised of 23 Community Action Agencies, WomenVenture, City-County Federal Credit Union, Emerge Community Development, and the Leech Lake and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe Tribal Governments.

Participants must have incomes below 200% of poverty and commit to saving up to $480 per year, which is matched at a 3:1 rate for up to two years. They also complete 28 hours of financial management classes and 10-14 hours of specific asset training classes, such as first time homebuyer, business development or career development.

From 2000-2007 $1.6 million was deposited into IDA matched savings accounts, over 1000 assets purchased, and 1500 people completed financial education classes. In addition to helping participants to acquire assets, IDAs also promote savings behavior and provide social support that contributes to sustainable economic self-reliance and asset-building. This is achieved by providing participants with no-fee bank accounts, which encourages regular savings, and providing financial literacy education and coaching. Frequently, the community organizations offering IDAs also offer other supportive services maximize long-term success.
  • Learn more about Family Assets for Independence in Minnesota (FAIM)
  • Locate a local FAIM agency in your county
  • Minnesota Statute 256E.35 Family Assets for Independence
Family Savings Accounts in Minneapolis
Sponsored by Faith in the City, the Personal Finance Center offers Family Savings Accounts, matched savings accounts to help low-to-moderate income families develop assets.

Payne-Phalen: Saves 3:1 program in St. Paul
Opened in 2007, the Center for Working Families in St. Paul is a coalition of 6 organizations. The Center offers this IDA program and is located in the Old Swedish Bank Building, 965 Payne Ave., St. Paul. For more info, contact May Xiong.

For more information, check out Help MN Save and the Assets for Independence Act.

Thank you to Pam Johnson of the Minnesota Community Action Partnership for contributing this post.

Thank you to our new endorsers!

Thank you to Three Rivers Community Action, Inter-County Community Action, Prairie Five Community Action Council, and Mahube Community Council for endorsing the Minnesota Elder Index.

These divisions of the Minnesota Community Action Partnership chose to endorse the Minnesota Elder Index as a new tool to ensure that future planning and policies are based on the true costs of shelter, food, transportation and health care, so that Minnesota elders can continue to live with dignity in their own homes and communities.

Thank you for endorsing this new cost-of-living tool!

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Nun Study at the University of Minnesota

The Nun Study is a longitudinal study of aging and Alzheimer's disease. It began in 1986 as a pilot study on aging and disability using data collected from the older School Sisters of Notre Dame living in Mankato, Minn. The goal of the Nun Study is to determine the causes and prevention of Alzheimer's disease, other brain diseases, and the mental and physical disability associated with old age.

The 678 participants in the Nun Study were 75 to 102 years old when the study began, and the average age of the participants was 83 years.

Nuns were chosen for the study because of their homogeneous lifestyle and environments. Participants in this study are non-smokers, drink little if any alcohol, have the same marital status and reproductive history, have lived in similar housing, held similar jobs, and had similar access to preventive and medical care.

For more information on The Nun Study, visit the University of Minnesota website.

By Marie Nelson

Wider Opportunities for Women and the Minnesota Women's Consortium Unveil New State Data on Older Women’s Ability to Make Ends Meet

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), in partnership with the Minnesota Women’s Consortium released new data on women’s retirement security in Minnesota. The data is an opportunity to look at and discuss the plight of older women as we commemorate Older Americans Month. Single older women fall short of making ends meet by over $4,000 a year in Minnesota’s least expensive communities and almost $8,600 in the most expensive counties. This new resource gives state and national policy solutions, including defending effective state initiatives such as the Alternative Care Program and the Property Tax Refund, to move Minnesota women toward economic security in retirement.

Click on the images above to view the new data.

For more information, contact Marie Nelson at
651-228-0338 or eesi@mnwomen.org

By Marie Nelson

Thank you to our new endorser!

The Domestic Abuse Intervention Program in Duluth has worked for a number of years to offer domestic violence training and resources based on The Duluth Model to help community activists, domestic violence workers, practitioners in the criminal and civil justice systems, human service providers, and community leaders make a direct impact on domestic violence.

The Domestic Abuse Intervention Program chose to endorse the Minnesota Elder Index as a new tool to ensure that future planning and policies are based on the true costs of shelter, food, transportation and health care, so that Minnesota elders can continue to live with dignity in their own homes and communities.

Thank you for endorsing this new cost-of-living tool!

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We all do better when we all do better.

The Economix blog by the New York Times featured an intriguing post today on who exactly has benefited from women's progress.

To quote late Senator Paul Wellstone,
we all do better when we all do better.

Casey B. Mulligan raised some important points in her post, such as the job market is not a zero-sum game. "Employment gains for one group can create benefits for others." Also, job market gains for married women "can ease financial hardship from job losses by their husbands."

The Elder Economic Security Initiative is dedicated to improving the economic well being of all elders, with a special focus on the unique needs of elder women. To learn more about our efforts in Minnesota, visit the Wider Opportunities for Women website.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tell Congress Long-Term Services Are In Need of Reform

Thank you to the National Elder Economic Security Initiative for this call to action:

Thanks to the hard work of many people around the country, health reform is moving forward fast. In the coming weeks, Congress will decide what will be included in health reform legislation.

Today, Wednesday, May 13th, WOW is joining several groups, including the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, in sponsoring a call-in day to Congress. We’re asking people to remind their Senators that home and community-based long-term services and supports are an important part of health care.

Today, Wednesday, May 13th, call 1-800-828-0498 and ask to be connected to your Senators. Please remind them that long-term services and supports are an important part of health care and urge them to include those services in the health reform legislation being developed.

Thank you for helping get the word out about this critical issue.

By Marie Nelson

The Grant Study: What makes us happy?

For 72 years, researchers at Harvard have been pursuing the complicated answer to a relatively simple question: What makes us happy? In the late 1930s, researchers began to follow 268 men as they entered college. Researchers studied their education, career, marriage, children, and other important life decisions as to how it effected their happiness. The study continues today, as the men are now elders, making it one of the most comprehensive longitudinal studies in history.

Dr. George Vaillant directs the Grant Study, and in the video below explains what he's learned about happiness as his subjects have learned and aged.

By Marie Nelson

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Communities for a Lifetime signed into law

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Communities for a Lifetime bill into law yesterday.

Communities for a Lifetime is similar to the Star City concept, in which a city receives a special designation for its efforts to improve the community. Star Cities work on economic development. Communities for a Lifetime work to meet the needs of residents over age 65. The bill's language further explains this: "'Communities for a lifetime' means partnerships of small cities, counties, municipalities, statutory or home rule charter cities or towns whose citizens seek to affirmatively extend to persons 65 years of age and older the opportunities, supports and services which will enable them to continue to be contributing, civically engaged residents."

To read the Communities for a Lifetime bill, click here.

The Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative supported the Communities for a Lifetime bill.

By Marie Nelson

Thursday, May 7, 2009

ElderCare Rights Alliance Film Festival

Save the date for the second annual film festival: Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Due to popular demand ElderCare Rights Alliance is presenting its second annual film festival featuring Terra Nova Films on aging. We are pleased to have Jim Vanden Bosch from Terra Nova Films returning again this year to facilitate the event. It will be held at the beautiful St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis. Mark you calendars and plan on joining us for this day- long innovative event. Stay tuned for details.

By Marie Nelson

Monday, May 4, 2009

New Tool: Minnesota's Women in Retirement

Wider Opportunities for Women and the Minnesota Women's Consortium teamed up to bring you a new resource in elder economic work. At A Glance: Minnesota's Women in Retirement explains why it is particularly difficult for Minnesota women to achieve retirement security. By providing background information on the Federal Poverty Level and Social Security payments, this tool explains the ways in which Minnesota elder women are struggling.

At A Glance also provides state and national income policy solutions, such as advocating for strengthened commitment to affordable housing and reforming paid family leave.

For pdf of At A Glance: Minnesota's Women in Retirement, contact Marie Nelson at eesi@mnwomen.org or 651-228-0338.

By Marie Nelson

Friday, May 1, 2009

What does elder economic security mean in Minnesota?

It seems that, rather suddenly, retirement isn’t what it used to be.

The mental image most of us have about retirement probably resembles a Folger’s Coffee commercial. We think of happy, healthy, long-time married couples with white hair and loving embraces. We think of these couples living in the home in which their children were raised. We think of travel, gifts to the grandchildren, and time with life-long friends.

In Minnesota, the local average Social Security payment for men fell more than $3,800 short of economic security. A typical Minnesota renter who relied entirely on the local average Social Security for women fell nearly $8,000 short of economic security.

Economic security is not available to most elder Minnesotans. An elder couple with a mortgage can expect the following average expenses every month:
  • Housing: $1,085
  • Food: $430
  • Transportation: $414
  • Health Care: $600
  • Miscellaneous necessities: $368
An elder couple with a mortgage will need to meet $34,757 worth of their most basic needs every year. If both individuals receive the average Social Security payment and rely solely on that, they have an annual income of $26,435.

We do not want our grandparents and parents facing this kind of economic hardship. The Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative is determined to change the dialogue from elder poverty to elder economic security.

Elder economic security in Minnesota means that every Minnesota elder has adequate shelter, food, health care, transportation, and income to cover basic needs. To participate in this effort, contact Marie Nelson at the Minnesota Women’s Consortium at eesi@mnwomen.org or 651-228-0338. Remember that May is Older Americans Month.

Thanks to Wider Opportunities for Women for organizing “Blog About It: Elder Economic Security on May 1, 2009.” Please participate in Blog About It by commenting on this blog or the National Elder Economic Security Initiative blog, or posting on your blog about what elder economic security means in your state.

By Marie Nelson

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Request a presentation on the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative

If you're interested in learning more about the Minnesota Elder Economic Security Initiative, the Minnesota Elder Index, endorsing our project or more, we are happy to present to your group.

MinnEESI partners represent a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. The MinnEESI partners are:

Bonnie Watkins: Minnesota Women's Consortium (MinnEESI lead organization)
Amy Brenengen: Minnesota Office on the Economic Status of Women
Dan DuHamel: Department of Human Services
Lisa Edstrom: University of Minnesota Center on Aging
Pam Johnson: Minnesota Community Action Partnership
Mary Olsen Baker: Department of Human Services Transform 2010

To request a presentation contact Marie Nelson, MinnEESI Project Coordinator at the Minnesota Women's Consortium: 651-228-0338 or eesi@mnwomen.org.

By Marie Nelson

Thank you to our new endorser!

Lisa Edstrom (University of Minnesota Center on Aging) and Marie Nelson (MinnEESI) presented yesterday to the North Suburban Senior Council on the Minnesota Elder Index. The North Suburban Senior Council has worked for a number of years to give voice to elders in the Roseville area.

Following the presentation, the North Suburban Senior Council chose to endorse the Minnesota Elder Index as a new tool to ensure that future planning and policies are based on the true costs of shelter, food, transportation and health care, so that Minnesota elders can continue to live with dignity in their own homes and communities.

Thank you for endorsing this new cost-of-living tool!

By Marie Nelson