The Elder Economic Security Standard Index for Wisconsin
Publication Date: July 2008
Keywords: elder index; wisconsin; living standard; economic security
The multi-year national Elder Economic Security Initiative program (EESI program) at Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) offers a conceptual framework which includes concrete tools to shape public policies and programs to promote the economic well-being of older adults, whether or not they have the capacity to be fully self-reliant or are in need of certain public supports to age in place with dignity. The EESI program combines coalition building, research, education, and advocacy at the community, state, and national level. With support from the Retirement Research Foundation, WOW has partnered with five states, California, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Wisconsin, to launch the national EESI program. Support from The Atlantic Philanthropies will expand the project to 20 states and result in a national database with information on all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Undergirding the EESI program is the Elder Economic Security Standard Index (the Index), a new tool for use by policy makers, older adults, program providers, leaders in the aging advocacy community and the public at large. Developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston and WOW, the Index is a measure of income that older adults require to maintain their independence in the community and meet their daily costs of living, including affordable and appropriate housing and health care. The development and use of the Index promotes a measure of income that respects the autonomy goals of older adults, rather than a measure of what we all struggle to avoid: poverty.