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

Spring Lawn Care: Or When His (Or Her) Jobs Become Your Jobs

[This is the fifth installment of posts from Faith, AGE’s CaregiverU Coordinator and personal expert on being a family caregiver – you’ll continue hearing from her on a range of topics once a month.]

Lawn care.  Hmmm, not my expertise.  I do enjoy the sight of a well tended lawn, though.  Thick green grass, nicely edged, pretty stones in a ring around each tree, neatly trimmed trees, front flower Green Lawnbed blooming.  All very nice, but I am clueless as to how to create that, and probably not much better on knowing how to maintain it.  You see, I’ve been married close to 45 years and we’ve had a system called ‘his work’ and ‘her work’.  I took care of the inside of the house and he took care of the outside.  The work inside of the house and all my other responsibilities took up all of my time and then some, so I paid little attention to the work in our yard.  Seven years ago when we moved into our current house, I was eager to learn how to do yard work and hoped to work together with my spouse to plan the landscaping and share in the labor.  My dear husband was insulted by those plans—refer back to ‘his work’ and ‘her work’ above.  The yard was definitely his domain and I’d best remember that.  In the name of peace and harmony, I took my rightful place, and simply enjoyed the loveliness.

I enjoyed it until now.  Now my spouse is not so capable of planning and organizing the yard work.  He sometimes forgets how to start the lawn mower and claims it doesn’t work.   Our good neighbor comes over to get it going, and tells him the mower just needed an adjustment.  Helpful friends give him bedding plants for the flower beds, thinking he would enjoy digging in the dirt again.  He enjoys the digging and puttering, but then becomes very anxious because the plants aren’t thriving.  That’s when he asks me what to do, and, I’m –clueless.   He worries about the bald spots in the front lawn and then I worry.  Surely bald spots are not a good thing, but what does one do? Continue reading

Bullying Is Not Just For Kids

There are more and more baby boomers staying active in the workforce, well into what was previously assumed to be retirement age. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), one unanticipated side effect of this trend has been an increase in age-based harassment complaints.

It seems as though there is a rash of adult-bullies out there who are using age to taunt and ridicule the wisest among our population. Instead of embracing and valuing what a diversity of ages brings to the workforce, many older adults often experience being pushed out or stay in very negative and toxic environments.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects anyone over 40 years of age from discrimination in any employment practice. There are things you can do to protect and advocate for yourself in this position. You can go to your supervisors, but there is always a risk of retaliation although it is illegal for them to do so. You should begin to document specifics of each incident of harassment. And you have the option to file a charge with the EEOC, to see details click here.

To see AARP’s article on this subject, click below:

Workplace Bullying: How you can fight back against age-based bullying on the job

Best Careers for Family Caregivers

by Catey Hill

For the 43 million Americans taking care of another adult, climbing the corporate ladder may seem all but impossible. Now, though, help is coming from a surprising corner: Your employer.

A decade ago, few people had ever heard of corporate benefits like elder care leave and caregiving referral services. Now some 10% of companies currently provide them, a percentage experts expect to keep growing. Flex-time, which is critical for dealing with emergencies or monitoring care, is also getting more popular. Almost one in five companies say that in 2011 they plan to add or increase the amount of flex-time options they offer employees, according to a survey by executive search firm Amrop Battalia Winston.

For those that have found caregiving to be a career killer, it’s a welcome change. Nearly 75% caregivers say that they’ve had to change jobs or stop working because of the demands of caring for a family member or friend, according to a February 2011 survey by Caring.com. Furthermore, 40% of caregivers say that looking after someone has limited their chances to advance, according to The MetLife Juggling Act Study. All that career upheaval really hurts: The household incomes of families in which one person is a caregiver are 15% lower than those of families without a caregiver, according to the government’s Disability and American Families study.

For employers, the move is strategic. Many understand that such benefits are now needed to retain “the best and the brightest” employees – many of whom are finding themselves having to care for someone — says Kate Lister, principal consultant for Telework Research Network. A 2010 government study, “Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility,” also found that incentives like shortened work weeks and generous options for emergency leave tend to increase worker productivity, reduce turnover and save companies a significant amount of money.

Read more: Best Careers for Family Caregivers – SmartMoney.com http://www.smartmoney.com/personal-finance/employment/best-careers-for-family-caregivers-1298570881726/#ixzz1FIzS6lXi

Report: Unemployed Older Workers Encounter Special Difficulties Finding Jobs

As much as we hate to be the bearer of bad news that you are already aware of, this report highlights some of the specifc challenges older workers face when looking for employment. Check it out and leace your comments below.-SP

Unemployed Older Workers Encounter Special Difficulties Finding Jobs
The Urban Institute

January, 2011

As tales of the Great Recession of 2007â??2009 and its aftermath are told, many older workers may well recount their experiences with relief. But others will likely express only regret.
Workers age 50 and older were less likely than their younger coworkers to lose their jobs but took longer to find work when they became unemployed, and many accepted deep pay cuts, the Urban Institute’s Richard Johnson and Janice Park explain in “Can Unemployed Older Workers Find Work?”

Workers age 50 to 61 employed in the second half of 2008 stood a 6.1 percent chance of losing their jobs within 16 months, compared with 9.3 percent for those age 25 to 34 — a 34 percent advantage.

Between mid-2008 and the end of 2009, the likelihood of finding a new job within 12 months was only 18 percent for laid-off workers 62 and older, half the 36 percent rate registered by workers 25 to 34. For workers 50 to 61, the reemployment rate was 24 percent.

These findings are based on the authors’ analysis of a nationally representative Census Bureau survey that has been tracking American households since September 2008.

In a companion report, “Age Differences in Job Loss, Job Search, and Reemployment,” Johnson and Corina Mommaerts show that, in the decade ending in 2007, age often shielded workers from layoff because older workers generally had more seniority than their younger counterparts. However, men age 50 to 61 who had the same service record as men age 25 to 34 were 24 percent more likely to lose their jobs. Older women were just as likely to lose their jobs as younger women with similar job tenure.

Johnson and Mommaerts also find that displaced men age 50 to 61 who found new jobs between 1996 and 2007 typically took a 20 percent hit to their hourly wages. Their counterparts 62 and older suffered a 36 percent falloff, while median wages fell only 4 percent for reemployed men age 35 to 49 and 2 percent for those 25 to 34. Older displaced women had sizeable wage losses, but not as dramatic as those for men. (Interestingly, displaced men and women 18 to 24 earned 2 to 7 percent more at their new jobs than their old ones.)

“Not only can job loss have devastating consequences in the short run, but it also upends retirement savings, especially for older workers,” says Johnson, who directs the Urban Institute’s Program on Retirement Policy. “Their financial security hinges on a solid employment record right up to retirement.”

About half of all displaced workers between 1996 and 2007 moved into a new occupation or new industry when they landed another job. Overall, only 4.4 percent of men and 3.2 percent of women transitioned to self-employment.

Read the full article here at Texas Non-Profits website.

Survey: Lack of ‘Sick’ Days Impacts Working Caregivers

This survey highlighted by the Public Welfare Foundation gets a snapshot of the real-life impact of lack of sick days and time off for workers. This impacts caregivers, who rely on medical time-off to help shuttle parents to doctor’s appointments, physical therapy and help coordinate care.

Lack of Paid Sick Days Takes Significant Toll on
Workers’ Job Security & the Public Health, New Survey Finds

By Overwhelming Majorities and Across All Demographic Groups,
Americans Say All Workers Should Have Paid Sick Days

WASHINGTON, DC – Nearly one in six people polled in a national survey (16 percent) say they have lost a job for taking time off from work to care for a sick child or family member, or to cope with their own illness. Released today, the survey was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago this spring.

It finds that the lack of paid sick days is harming our public health, and straining the national health care system, in measurable ways:

• More than half of workers without paid sick days (55 percent) have gone to work with a contagious illness like the flu, compared to 37 percent of workers with paid sick days.
•People without paid sick days are twice as likely as those with paid sick days to use hospital emergency rooms (20 percent vs. 10 percent) because they “were unable to take off from work to get medical care during normal job hours.”
•Nearly twice as many workers without paid sick days (24 percent) have sent a sick child to school or daycare than workers with paid sick days (14 percent).
Government data show that more than 40 million workers in this country do not have paid sick days, and many more do not have paid sick days that they can use to care for a sick child or family member. “This new survey shows conclusively that our nation is paying a high price for not allowing workers to earn paid sick days,” said Deborah Leff, president of the Public Welfare Foundation. “It demonstrates that not having paid sick days drives up the costs of health care and causes more people to go to work sick, creating public health risks for everyone. It is no wonder that a strong majority of people across every racial group, every income level, every age group, every part of the country, and both political parties see paid sick days as a basic worker’s right, just like being paid a decent wage.”

Seven in ten respondents in the new survey (69 percent) say paid sick days are “very important” for workers. Women, African Americans, people with low incomes and Democrats express the highest support, but 64 percent of people who call themselves strong Republicans say they see paid sick days as very important. Three in four respondents overall (75 percent) favor a law that guarantees paid sick days for all workers, and most support pro-rated paid sick days for part-time workers. Among the other findings in the new survey:

•Three in four respondents say paid sick days are a basic worker’s right.
•86 percent of respondents back a plan that would require a minimum of seven paid sick days per year, and 70 percent back a plan requiring a minimum of nine paid sick days for full-time workers.
•Just 17 percent say employers with fewer than 15 employees should be exempted from providing any paid sick days; 47 percent say smaller employers should provide “some but fewer” paid sick days to employees; and 33 percent say smaller employers should provide the same number of paid sick days as larger employers.
•47 percent of respondents would be more likely to vote for a candidate who backs paid sick days legislation, and just 14 indicate they would be less likely to vote for a candidate with that view.
“Americans overwhelmingly view paid sick days as a basic labor standard,” concluded Dr. Tom W. Smith, a Senior Fellow at the National Opinion Research Center and director of the study. “By a margin of 33 points, voters were more likely to support a candidate who favored paid sick days.”

Read more here at The Public Welfare Foundation.

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.