Growing old is a natural process that exhibits different responses in different individuals. The number of American older population has increased steadily in the recent years. The number may increase to nearly 50 million in the next two decades (Dixon, Richard & Rollins, 2003). Owing to the fact that the elderly are economically unproductive, the great number exerts considerable pressure on the economic performance of the United States as a result of their dependency on state services. The seniors therefore choose between independent living, assisted living, and staying in the nursing homes or skilled nursing facilities (Dixon, Richard & Rollins, 2003).
Most of the elderly lack stable income and rely on the meager social security benefits that are inadequate to cater for all their needs. This is done as a result of inflation and economic recession that has left the state and federal government unable to finance and support all the elderly. According to Basler (2009), there has been serious budget deficit created by the deepening recession facing the United States. It is compelling state lawmakers to freeze or even cut the financing of the elderly potions for home and community services prompting them to increase the amount paid to them. Currently, at least 46 states including the District of Columbia experience deficit and an estimated shortfall of $350 billion over the next 30 months (Basler, 2009). This poor economic performance, therefore, impacts negatively on the seniors, some of whom are still on a waiting list for future consideration.
Florida seniors get state funds due to the state Medicaid programs that pay for the home care bills for those who qualify for the long-term care. Averagely, 21 percent of all Florida state spending is channeled to Medicaid making it a target for budget cutting. The majority of seniors prefer the independent living over nursing homes. The Medicaid currently serves more than 2.8 million elderly Americans (Basler, 2009).
Federal government also finances the elderly program through the economic stimulus aid. For example, the economic stimulus package introduced by the Congress and President Obama involves billions of dollars of state aid including more than $87 billion given to state aging and Medicaid programs that help to boost the Florida seniors (Basler, 2009). This stimulus funding gives the states a baseline for operation. Equally, federal health care programs serve the long-term care programs for low-income Americans. There are also other agencies such as AAA, ARCs and ADRCs that fund and offer home care and health aid to the seniors (Florida Association of Area Agencies on Aging).
The government should consider undertaking structural reforms that involve a retraining of older workers and initiate flexible working schedules that can promote an amount of contributions to the older populations, who are capable of earning little income and who can pay their bills independently.
The government should also introduce policy against ageism to stop all kinds of discrimination usually faced by the elderly such as employment discrimination and elder abuse. This will help them gain confidence of being independent.
To improve the quality of life, states and federal governments should also consider a policy of increasing the amount of social security contributions remitted by employers at all levels to increase retirement benefits that can be enjoyed by the elderly. In addition, the government will play a superior role in providing economic security as well.
The government should fully adopt the housing procurement program that sponsors a building of housing facilities for the elderly and encourage private owners to invest in such facilities. Therefore, this will provide nursing services for the elderly willing to seek such services.
My parents increase their contributions to the social security fund to boost the future benefits. They are well counseled to accept the aging condition, maintain good mental health and avoid the common old age mental issues such as depression, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorder. They are also likely to avoid exposing themselves to the chronic clinical issues like arthritis, heart diseases, diabetes hypertension among others. As for me, I will also increase the amount of money invested to the social security fund. Besides, I will also create a special account that I will use when the right time comes.
Aging is a natural process that needs to be welcomed by all. However, it comes with economic and social challenges that require adequate preparation in terms of savings and lifestyles at the early ages. Currently, America is graying up at a fast speed coupled by the economic recession that impacts the seniors negatively.
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