It’s May — Older Americans Month

It’s May — Older Americans Month

Very poor. Homeless aged woman holding a paper glass while asking people for money

{Read in 3 minutes}  And the Oscar goes to … Nomadland! 

Something that I found interesting were the topics addressed in this year’s Oscar award winners. The Oscar for best picture (Nomadland) went to a movie about homelessness among seniors. The Oscar for best actor was awarded to Anthony Hopkins for his portrayal of a family patriarch struggling with dementia. Hopkins said in his acceptance speech that at 83 years of age, he did not expect to get this award. As our population ages, I imagine that recognizing seniors and shining a light on their issues will not seem so unusual. 

Nomadland is a haunting movie about the damaged American dream, featuring seniors who live in their vans or RVs. Houseless and needing to earn an income to make ends meet, they travel from place to place picking up seasonal work at places like Amazon and summer campgrounds to survive. In the movie, the main character, Fern, played by Frances McDormand, lived in a once-thriving town which shut down when its 2 largest employers went out of business. Traveling in her customized van, she meets up with other road warriors at an annual retreat where she gets tips on how to best survive (including how to handle your own sh**). Most of the other characters in the movie are real people who play themselves and live this lifestyle. 

So how do people end up living in their vehicles or homeless? There are many reasons including;

•lack of affordable housing
•unemployment and low wages
•domestic violence
•addiction
•poor health and injury
•mental illness

There is concern that this situation will become even worse with pandemic-related evictions.

Currently, 50% of the homeless population is over 50 years old. 30 years ago that number was 11%. 50-64-year-olds frequently fall through the cracks of government safety nets. While not old enough to qualify for government benefits, their physical health is impacted by poor nutrition and difficult living conditions. Fortunately, the percent of homeless over age 65 is lower as successful safety-net programs like Medicare and Social Security kick in. 

SilverSource protects financially vulnerable older residents who are facing economic uncertainty. We provide financial assistance, counseling, and advocacy to address urgent needs and keep older adults in their homes, including eviction prevention, help with utility payments, medical devices and alerts, air conditioners, and other supports that allow seniors to age in-place safely.

The goal of the SilverSource Housing Stability program is for older neighbors to:

1. Avoid homelessness;

2. Achieve economic stability; and

3. Transition to more affordable housing.

If you or a loved one needs help, call SilverSource at 203.324.6584. Our expert staff can provide assistance, and connect you with the support you need.

Visit our website at www.silversource.org for more information on all of our services.

Founded in 1908, SilverSource is an independent, nonprofit organization that provides information, financial support, and other services that positively improve the quality of life for people over age 60 while serving as a resource center and referral source for older adults and their families in lower Fairfield County.

Kathleen Bordelon
Executive Director
Kbordelon@silversource.org
203.324.6584 x 301

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