AZ Elder Economic Security Initiative

Elder Economic Security Standard Index


Arizona Elder Economic Security Initiative

                             Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index)?

A: The Elder Index is a county-specific measure of the minimum income necessary to cover all of a senior’s basic expenses—housing, food, medical care, and transportation. It is the only elder-specific financial measure of its kind and is available for elders living along or as a couple, and for elders raising a grandchild or grandchildren and elders with adult children who live with them.

Q: How is the Elder Index calculated?

A: The elder Index methodology was developed by Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) and the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. The Elder Index methodology uses widely accepted and credible national and state data sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Geographically relevant data is used for each county in Arizona, reflecting local market rates for housing, food, health care and transportation.

Q: How is the Elder Index different from the Federal Poverty Guidelines?

A: The Elder Index is based on all of the costs older adults face and it is specific to an individual’s housing situation, age, health status and county of residence.

The FPL, which is often used to determine eligibility for public programs and state and local funding levels, was developed in the 1960s and is the same dollar amount across the country: $11,490 in 2013 for a one-person household, The FPL is so low because it is based only on the cost of a bare-bones diet—failing to account for local housing, transportation and most importantly, medical costs, which can be particularly debilitating for the elderly.

Q: What is the Arizona Elder Economic Security Initiative?

A: This is a statewide, research-driven initiative to ensure older Arizonans have opportunities to live with dignity and economic well-being. Our initiative is guided by a broad-based coalition of policymakers, service providers, philanthropic foundations, public agencies, and other elder advocates, and led by the Northern Arizona Seniors in Action Coalition.

Q: What can we do about the economic problems elders face in our communities?

A: Urge policymakers, advocates, foundation, public agencies, and direst service providers to adopt the Elder Index to measure and address the economic needs of older adults. Join our AZ EESI Coalition. Contact us.