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The Elderly and Homelessness: “Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?”

You walk into an interview for the job of your dreams. Dressed in a nice suit and ready to make a lasting impression, you have your portfolio available and a smile on your face. The interviewer asks you the typical questions of the interview process: “what is your greatest weakness?” or “why do you think you’re right for this job?” Finally, he gets to the age-old question. The one that causes introspection and shows the interviewer if you are a reliable choice: “where do you see yourself in five years?”

Take this question a step further: “where do you see yourself in ten years?” Maybe still working the job you interviewed for and successfully got. Maybe settled down with a family and children. Again, add more time and experience to what you might foresee: “where do you see yourself in 30 years?” The last answer you will come up with, I assure you, is “homeless.”

There are staggering statistics that prove, however, that homelessness among the elderly is a skyrocketing phenomenon. Health Affairs reports that in New York City alone, the number of homeless individuals above the age of 50 surpassed 17,000, a number that tripled in the last fifteen years. While this number may be smaller among people over the age of 65, it seems that the general age group is experiencing a rise in homelessness. In 2019, the Berkely Food and Housing Project ran an article with a subheading that said, “more people than ever are spending their ‘golden years’ living on the streets.”

It is clear, especially recently, that homelessness among the elderly is a growing predicament. It is truly sad to see people who have lived through many trying experiences, interviewed for and worked many jobs, raised families, and maybe even fought for America overseas living on the streets during what should be a time of rest and retirement. Perhaps the best way of helping the elderly who experience homelessness is by providing funds for housing or Medicare. Further, mental health support can be a viable option. Of course, there should be no neglecting the immediate needs of the homeless elderly such as food, water, and medical attention as needed.

You and I have the ability and resources to give the ‘golden years’ back to those it has been taken from. We can, through service and charity, offer the elderly who are homeless a chance to sit back and spoil their grandkids. Through donations, we can aid in their recovery, both mental and physical as needed, to help carry them to a point of rest and true retirement.

Written by: Justin Bower


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