The “Sandwich Generation” should be called the “Hero Generation”

(Guest Post by Caregiving Cafe)

According to Pew Research’s report titled “The Sandwich Generation,” 47% of US adults in their 40’s and 50’s have a parent who is 65 or older and are caring for a child 18 or younger, or are supporting a grown child.  Many are providing caregiving as well as financial and emotional support.  [Pew Research, January 2013]

With advancing age, the likelihood of an aging parent needing help by the time a child becomes a young adult is rather great.  The picture becomes a bit more complex as grown children experiencing hardship (financial or emotional) pull at their parents’ heartstrings (and wallet).

I have had a taste of this dubious “sandwich” while caring long-distance for my mother and raising our daughter.  Mine was actually loaded with the “extras,” as I also began to care for my husband when our daughter had just turned 13.  He became disabled as a result of CRPS, a painful and debilitating neurological disease. Continue reading

Older Americans Month 2013: Unleashing the power of age!

Here are a few of the things we know about the older adult population:

  • The older population (65+) numbered 41.4 million in 2011, an increase of 6.3 million or 18% since 2000.
  • Over one in every eight, or 13.3%, of the population is an older American.
  • Almost 3.6 million elderly persons (8.7%) were below the poverty level in 2011.
  • The Round Rock-Austin metropolitan area had the fastest growing “pre-senior” (age 55-64) population in the country, with a 110% change.
  • Older Americans MonthGrowth of the senior (age 65+) population ranked second nationally over the same period.

In the news, most of what you hear about aging is reflects negative or worried attitudes like how the ‘silver tsunami’ is coming and how the community isn’t ready to adequately deal with the booming population of older adults. At AGE of Central Texas, our business is to face the negativity head on to meet the needs of seniors in our community and help older adults age with dignity and vitality.

Thankfully, the time is upon us to focus on the positivity of aging– May is Older Americans Month! Every year since 1963, May has been the month to appreciate and celebrate the vitality and aspirations of older adults and their contributions and achievements. It is a proud tradition that shows our nation’s commitment to honor the value that elders continue to contribute to our communities. Continue reading

Elderly Americans Increasingly Declaring Bankruptcy in Retirement

By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox

Elderly Americans struggling under the weight of credit card debt and medical bills are increasingly resorting to bankruptcy in retirement.

A slew of recent data highlights the problem:

A 2010 study from the University of Michigan Law School, called The Rise in Elder Bankruptcy Filings, found that those 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population seeking bankruptcy protection
The Washington D.C.-based public policy group Demos reports that Americans 65 and above who carry a balance on their credit cards owe an average of $10,235 — up 26% from 2005.
Older debtors who filed for bankruptcy owed a median $22,562 to credit card companies, the Michigan study showed
“The findings are both striking and ominous,” says John Pottow, author of the University of Michigan study. “While multiple factors, such as health problems and medical debts, contribute to elders’ financial distress, the dominant force appears to be overwhelming burdens related to credit cards.”

Pottow’s study found that elder debtors carry 50% more credit card debt than younger debtors, and seniors cite credit card interest and fees as a reason for their bankruptcy filings 50% more frequently.

Unfortunately, the rise in bankruptcy filings among the elderly isn’t merely a recent phenomenon, or a reflection of the Great Recession. Even before the recession hit, seniors were struggling.

Read the full article here at WalletPop website.

Dying with debt: A dirty little retirement secret

Credit card debt is becoming a problem for some seniors.
More and more older adults are racking up debt on credit cards… is debt becoming a problem for the Greatest Generation? -SP

By Cindy Perman,

Retired Americans are racking up credit-card debt like never before, be it for vacations or medical expenses, and a surprising number have no intention of paying it off before they die.
Nearly 40% of retired Americans said they’ve accumulated credit-card debt in their twilight years — and aren’t worried about paying it off in their lifetime, according to a survey released by CESI Debt Solutions.

“At the end of the day, some people of a certain age say, ‘It’s too late in the game for me to do anything about it. I can’t win. So I’m just going to stop playing the game,'” said Neil Ellington, executive vice president at CESI.

This may come as a surprise to younger generations who thought their parents, the so-called Greatest Generation, were more responsible than youngsters raised in an era of easy money, a culture of credit.

But remember that this is the generation that frowns upon talking about money — and certainly would be embarrassed by any potential money problems. Add in a recession that slashed many retirement accounts in half and that leaves a generation sinking deeper into debt, with a diminishing timeframe to do anything about it — and too much pride to talk about it.

“Most people are too scared to talk about their financial problems, especially in their ‘Golden Years,'” Ellington said. “Retirement is supposed to be all about enjoying the time you’ve been saving up for, and the reality is that many people couldn’t save enough,” he said.

And yet, that didn’t stop them from retiring.

More than half of those surveyed had saved less than $50,000 — and many of that group said they’d saved absolutely nothing — yet they retired anyway. Just 4% said they had delayed their retirement due to debt.

“They get to a certain age and they feel privileged,” Ellington said. “They say, ‘I’m going to go on that trip even though I have to put it on my credit card.'”

Read more at USA Today’s website

Worst States to Retire? Website names Illinois, California & New York

The website has ranked US states that are the worst to retire in, according to three criteria: fiscal health, taxation, and climate. While Texas doesn’t even make the list or “honorable mentions,” I wonder what else could be included to determine a good place to retire.-SP

December 7 — The 50 U.S. states are in a beauty contest. Whether they know it or not, they are being judged by an avalanche of 76 million or so baby boomers looking for the best place to retire. These baby boomers are hard to please, they are used to moving to new places, accustomed to having the best, and are not going to settle for second or third best when it comes to enjoying their retirement years. This article provides our list of the 10 (or so) worst states for retirement, 2010 edition. Note: We are honored to report that this report was quoted extensively in Robert Powell’s “10 Worst States for Retirement” at WSJ-Marketwatch.

Everybody’s situation is different
Every individual has to consider his or her own criteria for selecting a list of the worst or best states to retire. The list of the best places for military to retire that came out this week from and is a perfect example of a list that makes sense for a specific set of retiree needs. Their lists were carefully tailored to U.S. military retirees who typically have a nice pension that they don’t want taxed at the state level, and who need to be close to a base for shopping and healthcare.

Read the full article and see the rankings here at

AFA: Baby Boomers Face Uncertain Financial Future with Caregiving and Long-Term Care

A great article in the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America newsletter on the real life impact of caregiving and long-term care options. -SP

The overwhelming majority of baby boomers who double as caregivers are changing their retirement expectations and current lifestyles, and female baby boomers in particular are unsure of how they will pay for their long-term care needs, according to two separate studies by Humana Inc., a health and supplemental benefits company, and AARP, respectively.

The Humana survey showed that 80 percent of baby boomers are rethinking retirement, including 44 percent who expect to work longer and 21 percent who plan to change or start a new career after they retire. It also showed that many boomers are making other considerable sacrifices to care for aging parents: 46 percent have given up social activities, 43 percent have skipped a vacation and 36 percent have dipped into personal savings. While 81 percent of respondents said they felt appreciated for providing such care, more than one in three said they felt helpless. Among those who were caring for parents and children simultaneously, known as sandwich caregivers, more than three in four say they are stressed about health care costs ahead. The survey included 1,000 Americans aged 45 to 64 who are caring for parents or other family members.

Similarly, the AARP survey found that six in ten women aged 45 to 64 have not yet determined how they will pay for their long-term care needs It also found that 40 percent were not aware that long-term care includes services other than care in a nursing home, and that personal savings will likely be used to pay for future care needs.

Learn more about the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America here.

NPR: At Universities, Aging Professors Aren’t Retiring. And Why Would They?

Having spent some time on the Stanford University campus, in Palo Alto, California, I can vouch for its beauteousness. There are big, verdant lawns; Mission-style buildings; wide bike lanes; and palm trees.

Its libraries are full — or, as NPR’s Laura Sydell reported, they have been full — of hundreds of thousands of volumes and journals. The school’s students and faculty are top-notch, and its alumni are influential.

Standing in The Oval Park, looking down Palm Drive, you might wonder — as I have — how such a perfect place can exist. Even in December, the weather is wonderful.

Denizens of the Stanford ivory — stucco? — tower are lucky, and as reporter Lisa M. Krieger points out in the San Jose Mercury News today, that’s causing trouble for the university.

“Many workers yearn for retirement — the goodbye parties, the golf course, maybe even a gold watch,” she writes. “But Stanford University has the opposite problem: Nobody wants to leave.”

Hoping to create more space for young scholars, Stanford has revamped its generous “Retirement Incentive Program” — for the second time in a decade — to nudge more old-timers toward the door.
The provost has urged older faculty to take a phased-retirement deal. “Retired faculty can keep their campus home, Faculty Club membership and free campus parking,” Krieger writes. “Other benefits include a ‘Tuition Grant’ program for children, $500 toward financial planning expenses and use of libraries, gyms and the glittering Avery Aquatic Center.”

They’re eligible to act as principal investigators on research. They can join a vibrant community of emeritus faculty, which the university supports.
The thing is, only a handful of professors have signed up.

This is a problem at colleges and universities across the country, apparently.

Read and listen to the whole story at

Seniors in the Workforce: Featuring AGE

Anna gatti
Anna Gatti said the benefits of working part time for 20 hours a week include staying mentally and physically active.
Sorry for the short hiatus from blogging! We’re back with new and improved content! Check out this great story from the Austin-American Statesman’s Jobs section, published this last Sunday. Features AGE staffers Anna Gatti and Sara Peralta!

By Mauri Elbel Marketing Publications Writer

Published: 3:05 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010

Ed Myers will turn 80 in November but the Central Austin resident refuses to let age slow him down.

Though Myers began receiving retirement benefits at age 62, he has never stopped working. Instead, he supplements his income with three part-time jobs: he works three days a week in a sales position with local computer service company Gravity Systems and he’s a swim instructor and lifeguard at the YMCA’s Town Lake branch and a professional model for television commercials and print advertisements.

“I have always worked — I enjoy working,” said Myers, who also volunteers for the YMCA’s Friday Senior Retreat Program, a social and fitness program for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. “I like to stay busy, but I also do this to supplement our income with the economy the way it is right now.”

Myers and his wife sold their two outdoor recreation stores in Beaufort, N.C., and Jackson, Tenn., prior to moving to Austin nearly a decade ago. For seven years, he worked as a full-time marketing manager at a local architectural lighting design studio until it ran into financial trouble in 2009.

“Things have gotten more expensive, and the extra money helps us to do the things we wouldn’t be able to afford to do ordinarily, like traveling,” he said. “But I would go crazy if I didn’t work. I never really retired — you stay younger and healthier if you keep on going.”

Read more here.

Boomers will Retire Comfortably, but Later

From the Practical Care Continuum newsletter.

Retirement expert Ken Dychtwald, the Age Wave guru, paints a pretty picture about retirement for the boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964). In his latest book, With Purpose: Going From Success to Significance in Work and Life, he states that retirement for the boomers will be so different from traditional retirement that we may well need a new word to describe it.

The biggest reason for this changing retirement scenario? Life spans are changing. Dychtwald sees a shift in attitude about aging. “When our moms and dads reached their 65th or 70th birthday, they felt like they were in the ninth inning, and they were quite happy. Now, boomers look around and see 80-year-old newlyweds and 90-year-old marathon runners.”

Dychtwald also forecasts boomers working longer, but being happier than current retirees who report boredom. And he expects boomers are going to continue to try new things, no matter the age.

Feeling sad because you have lost 45% of your net worth as you head into retirement age?

Read the full article here and start to feel better.