|Invisible Poverty: New Measure Unveils Financial Hardship in Michigan's Older Adult Population Version:July 20, 2011|
In this Seniors Count! report, we use a recently developed measure, the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index, or Elder Index , to evaluate the economic security of Michigan residents age 65 and older. The Elder Index benchmarks the actual costs of living for older adults, taking into account expenses for housing, food, transportation, health care, and other necessities at a basic standard of living. Our analysis shows that Michigan seniors face a much more widespread risk of financial hardship than previously understood.
When gauged by Elder Index thresholds, the incomes of more than one of every three seniors in Michigan are too low to meet their basic needs, even with the assumption of good health and moderate health care costs. This is not a phenomenon limited to blighted urban areas or desolate rural areas; in even our most affluent counties, at least one in every four people age 65 and older cannot make ends meet. This widespread economic struggle faced by Michigan seniors is fairly hidden from public sight, making it an invisible poverty that takes its toll on older individuals, their families and caregivers and the community at large.