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The Elder Economic Security Standard for Massachusetts

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Publication Date: December 2006

Funder(s): Retirement Research Foundation (U.S.); Charles H. Farnsworth Trust; Boston Foundation

Funder(s): Retirement Research Foundation (U.S.); Charles H. Farnsworth Trust; Boston Foundation

Topic: Economics (Economic conditions)
Population and demographics (Older people)

Keywords: elder; living standard; massachusetts; economic security

Type: Report

Coverage: Massachusetts

Abstract:

The Elder Economic Security Initiative (Initiative) at Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW), a multi-year project,offers a conceptual framework and 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 and autonomy. The Initiative combines coalition building,research, education, advocacy and a media strategy at the community, state and national level. The Initiative was launched in July 2005 with the generous support of the Retirement Research Foundation. The Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston (GI) is WOWs national research partner in the Initiative. The Initative builds on the work of the GI to develop and pilot a new measure of elder economic security for Boston funded by The Boston Foundation and for Massachusetts supported by the Retirement Research Foundation and The Boston Foundation.

Undergirding the Initiative is the WOW-GI National Elder Economic Security Standard (Elder Index), a new tool for use by policy makers, older adults, program providers, leaders in the aging advocacy community and the pblic at large. Developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston (GI) and WOW the Elder 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 Elder 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, abject poverty.