Dear Editor:

Much is made of the federal monies being spent on the “elderly.” I am one of them — the elderly, that is. Of course, I am blessed. I am thankful that I have the support of both Social Security and Medicare. These most certainly have made my “elderly” years more enjoyable as I am able to continue to live independent of my children, whom I love dearly.

Something that is lacking in conversations about the cost of the “elderly,” and that is the current benefits to our young working folks as a result of these programs. Before these programs were enacted, folks had to work as long as they could — that is, until they no longer were physically able. With no income, they then had to move in with their children and depend on them for all of their needs for the rest of their lives. Families made the best of it, as did mine, but it wasn’t easy. We loved our grandparents and they loved us back.

But, today, it is a much different story. With the help provided by Social Security and Medicare, families have the security of knowing their parents can continue their independence with little assistance from their children who are working to meet the needs of their own children. In some cases (widowed grandma, for instance), it is helpful to have grandma move in with the family, but this is done with dignity — she still has enough money to meet her personal needs and perhaps even contribute towards the utilities, enabling her to be a joyful member of the family, rather than a burden, well worth the investment made during one’s working years.

Patty Tillerson

This story was posted on March 28, 2013.