Many seniors in our community of Topeka suffer from poverty and are confined to their homes

My husband and I are part of a large group of people called Party with a Purpose who adopt families from the Christmas office every year. While most years we adopt families with children, this year we decided to adopt 100 seniors, housebound veterans and invalids.

What a revelation it was. I was not ready to see the overwhelming poverty among the elderly.

According to the National Council on Aging, about 25 million Americans over the age of 60 live at 250% or less of the federal poverty line, which is set at $ 29,475 per year. According to the Social Security Administration, as of August 2021, the average Social Security check in the United States was $ 1,437.55, or $ 17,250.60 per year, and 50% of seniors depend on it for their entirety. their income.

Numbers do not bring home the tragedy of poverty like meeting Elders, seeing dilapidated houses and coming face to face with my contemporaries who live in dire straits.

It is probably true that those of you reading this article do not come into contact with this segment of our population. I certainly didn’t. We constantly read in the news about the poverty of families and especially the needs of children.

It is a fact that 54% of the children in our county get a free and reduced breakfast, and we provide them. Yet that same number exists for the elderly, homebound and disabled veterans. I realize that there are programs to serve these seniors, but very little is said about them. There is no projector that raises awareness of this tragedy.

The people we helped asked for the most basic needs. The vast majority asked for blankets, sheets, coats and gloves. In addition, many of them asked for food. So many people live in unsafe neighborhoods and are confined to their homes.

Due to their physical challenges, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get to the grocery store.

At the same time, we have seen nothing but gratitude and appreciation in the face of unimaginable circumstances. We helped make their days a little brighter, but it was a drop in the ocean. I know the experience has changed me.

I will always be aware of the people who should be the honored elders of our community who live in poverty.

Find Connie’s book, “Daily Cures: Wisdom for Healthy Aging,” at

This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Many seniors in our community of Topeka suffer from poverty

Julio V. Miller