In America there is a big elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. All the talk of booming economy and reduced unemployment that completely leaves out a large segment of our society who have not fallen through the cracks but down a humongous sinkhole.
ProPublica did a report in December 2018 focusing on a big elephant: ” If You’re Over 50, Chances Are the Decision to Leave a Job Won’t be Yours.”
ProPublica and The Urban Institute analyzed date from the Health and Retirement Study that followed ” a nationally representative sample of about 20,000 people from the time they turn 50 through the rest of their lives.” Their findings were “that between the time older workers enter the study and when they leave paid employment, 56 percent are laid off at least once or leave jobs under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily ….only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did before their employment setbacks.”
Here is another story about someone feeling the effects of the above reality and how the ‘gig economy’ is not such a wonderful panacea for us all, “Surviving on $3 a Day and Hope, the seven lessons I’ve learned living in poverty.”
Age discrimination is the parent of this elephant and I don’t think it helps to get new skills or a new hairstyle without efforts to change attitudes of employers and society toward older people. I do think policymakers need to take a realistic look at this and what policies might help like lowering the Medicare enrollment age so employers would not use the excuse that older workers will cost them more with their health problems, (which is an ageist stereotype), and people who are unable to find secure employment would not lose their health coverage. While I was looking for programs offering solutions, I came across an article from American Society on Aging, “Ageism in Action! Ageism Inaction!”
In it the author mentioned an organization, Boomers Leading Change, that states, “We mobilize, connect and empower Adults 50+ to utilize your skills, passion and energy to create positive, lasting social change.” This organization based in Denver, Colorado, recruits people 50+ to utilize their skills to help their community.
“Our volunteers receive highly valuable education and training and then are connected with service opportunities in one of our programs – The Volunteer Program, our AmeriCorps Encore Program or our Boomers Advocacy Academy. In addition, our Connect for Health Coverage Guides help individuals and families learn about health insurance that fits their needs then find coverage through Colorado’s insurance marketplace.” (Boomers Leading Change)
The AmeriCorps Encore Program is probably the only paid position, and probably low paying, but I like their approach to volunteering for older adults, not just stuffing envelopes. Boomers Leading Change wants to “change the world’s view about aging.” We need more organizations dedicated to this.
We Are The World Blogfest, #WATWB, is a monthly series dedicated to shining some light into our world.