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The WOW-GI National Elder Economic Security Standard: A Methodology to Determine Economic Security for Elders

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Publication Date: December 2006

Topic: Economics (Economic research)
Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)
Social conditions (Social policy)

Keywords: poverty measure; cost of living; economic security; elder

Coverage: United States


The Elder Economic Security Initiative (EESI) 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 EESI combines coalition building, research, education, advocacy and a media strategy at the community, state and national level. The EESI was launched in July 2005 with the generous support of the Retirement Research Foundation.

Undergirding the EESI is the WOW Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts Boston National Elder Economic Security Standard (Elder Standard), 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 Elder Standard 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 Standard 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.


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