Under the Hat: Thinking Ahead - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Under the Hat: Thinking Ahead

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We all try to think ahead when we can:

Will I be able to sustain myself in retirement?

What if the kids want to go on to college?

Having the right answers to those questions is, of course, the tricky part.

We've all heard of the solvency issues with both Social Security and Medicare, the two programs most responsible for the basic public safety net for living expenses and medical care for seniors.

The population spike from the Baby Boomers along with the general trend of people just living longer are the most often quoted causes for depleting those funds.

But that just might be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Proof of that came this week as I joined hundreds of Crawford County seniors at the Downtown Mall in Meadville for an annual Senior Fest.

The event draws more than 70 private vendors and public agencies in a one-stop-shopping experience.

I was told that one of the main reasons for the big crowd was that this was the one time each year when all of those services are together in one place and that those services are expanding and changing at such a rapid pace that people need to take yearly inventory.

Then I was told about the Link program, an effort through the state to keep track of all that's available, and then cross train staff so that everyone knows what everyone else offers.

The goal is to end that "Sorry, we don't do that here" reaction seniors say they receive over and over again while shopping for help with a particular issue.

I agree with supporters who say that any effort to make government more user-friendly is a good thing.

But what are we coming to when the people running most of the programs, needs another program just to keep track of what everyone is doing?

Seniors are our fastest growing population and it's no secret that unlike some other age groups seniors vote en masse.

That means that there is not only a moral and economic imperative to care for our elderly but there's also political pressure too.

The good news is that we can reasonably expect a longer life span than generations before.

The question is whether society is truly prepared to deal with the issues that arise with those extended years.


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