WPCNR AGING UP. By John F. Bailey. January 29, 2018:
Mae Carpenter, pictured above,head of Westchester’s Office for Seniors, speaking at the Westchester County Center Senior Speakout Friday morning highlighted the growing problems confronted by the 193,792 over-60 (estimated) senor population.
County Executive George Latimer (Above) addressing the crowd of over 100 persons, reminiscing about attending grammar school and Mount Vernon, noted that he was the oldest County Executive ever elected for the first time (64), and that he was well aware that he would soon be in need of the services seniors need. At the close of his brief talk, he got serious with a stern, concerned face, telling the audience that the county needed to pay attention to “how we can bring results that will matter to you and your life.”
Assistant NY Attorney General for the Hudson Valley Region, Gary Brown, briefed seniors on the telephone scams they should not fall for and outlined the scam avoidance practices seniors should follow.
Ms. Carpenter outlined facts about Westchester Seniors most persons might not know that show reason the county should be concerned:
She said the 193,792 seniors in Westchester over 60 years of age are a diverse population with the highest longevity in the state. However 25% (50,000-plus) have one or more disabilities.
They also have “chronic illnesses,” which, she estimated would cost $864 Billion to treat by 2040, because chronic diseases in older adults are “more costly,disabling, and difficult to treat.” One of her slides said chronic diseases are the most preventable.
Fixed Incomes Challenged by Health Costs, Taxes
The majority of county seniors are on fixed incomes derived from social security,retirement income from private and public retirement and pension plans and income-producing sources.
The fixed income situation, she pointed is being threatened by expenses outstripping income by prescription costs, property and other taxes, household and housing costs – especially among minority and physically impaired seniors.
Health care costs in Westchester impact seniors the most. Even though medicare “insulates” against rising costs, her presentation showed that “out-of-pocket” expenditures rise for the uninsured as inflation drives up health care costs.
County Seniors Mostly Women
Women are particularly affected by costs because they “have spent less time in the work force than males, “creating lower pay rates, lower personal earnings, and lower retirement income compared to men.”
Women live longer than men creating a “live alone” situation for most women and are “likely in need of long term care services, and therefore, Medicaid.”
Caregivers as they Age Up
Another trend is that adults under age 60 are caregivers to elderly parents.
Ms. Carpenter observed that 55,000 family caregivers in Westchester care for a loved one over 60.
That average family caregiver is 46, female, married and working outside the home, and earning an average annual income of $35,000.
The effect of the need to care for an elder parent, or adult children, has the longterm affect on these family caregivers of “a higher risk of poverty later because of foregoing promotions, reducing working hours, or quitting employment to care for a loved one.”
The Baby Boomers pressure aging care needs.
To address this problem Ms. Carpenter said Westchester County is “developing strategies to ensure individuals of all ages have access to a single, accountable and responsible entity at the local level that can provide information, assistanceand screening for all long-term care services in the community..ensure an adequate and trained workforce exists in health, long term care and social services.”
At 10:15 AM, the “Speak Out” began with the hall being virtually completely filled.