To the Editor:
With the myriad of problems that older adults and challenged individuals in this state face, it is our job as both advocates and legislators to protect Maine’s most vulnerable populations.
This is a tough economy, but it is even tougher when one is frail, elderly, alone and frightened. Seniors in Maine have watched all summer long as their hard-earned Social Security benefits were debated over and over again in Washington.
For two years, they haven’t benefitted from a cost of living increase.
In the last 10 years, hunger among older adults has increased by an unbelievable 80 percent. Social Security is the only source of income for one-third of Mainers age 65 and older.
Many older Mainers rely upon every dime, every penny, to get them through each month. The state has alternatives, but these are Maine residents who do not.
What has happened in Maine that our legislature and our governor would even consider balancing the state budget by ripping to shreds the already threadbare safety net that exists for our poorest citizens?
It is the poorest of the poor who could needlessly suffer if the right conclusions are not reached in the coming weeks.
Our elderly citizens need our support, and our state should not turn its back on them. At AARP, we extend our hand to work with all legislators, on both sides of the aisle, and the governor, to develop a plan that will keep our elderly citizens safe and healthy.
AARP Executive Council