Congress finally took action at the 11th hour with a tax package, leaving Social Security mostly intact (for now). All the letters and San Francisco’s fiesty San Francisco’s Social Security Flash Mob surely helped keep the pressure on. So let’s celebrate and thank our elected representatives for helping hold the line.
But the larger issue of reducing the deficit while preventing cuts to safety net programs has been kicked down the road for a couple of months. The debates will continue on how to close the gap while keeping intact programs funded by the Older Americans Act, Medi-Cal and the like at the national and state level. We need to keep the pressure up.
And no matter what happens, we are also challenged to take action in our local community. CLC’s recent Connections for Healthy Aging workshops brought home the reality of just how many San Francisco seniors (and people with disabilities) lack basic financial security. We talked about the Elder Economic Security Index, developed by UCLA and now a standard for planning for the needs of seniors statewide. Unlike the outdated poverty measures, it factors in the REAL costs of living. According to that measure, nearly two-thirds (61%) of S.F. seniors lack basic economic security.
And this is before a person needs to pay for help at home, additional home health services, more prescriptions drugs, and the like. Just think about what this will mean for us and for those we care about.
As we look to the future, we hope the prosperous city of San Francisco will help individuals avoid their own personal fiscal cliff with the appropriate levels of formal services and informal support, enabling us to age with health and dignity. Time to think globally and act locally to keep lots of us from going over the financial cliff. Initiatives like providing employment opportunities for older workers so they can rebuild their savings, expanding options for more people to receive health and supportive services on a sliding scale, increasing the amount of accessible, affordable housing and reweaving communities where people help one another are all part of the solution.
We hope, once again, that San Francisco can take the lead in bringing us back from the edge of the cliff.
Community Living Campaign
1663 Mission Street, Suite 525
San Francisco, CA 94103