Did you know that the oldest demographic is more likely to vote than the youngest demographic? 72% of Americans age 65 and over voted in the last presidential election, compared to just 41% of those age 18 to 24. The weight of the senior vote wasn’t always as heavy, but it’s been on a steady incline for the past three decades.
This means that the power of senior citizens to decide the outcome of an election is quite strong. As many older adults encounter the difficulties of aging as they climb well into their senior years, it is important to remember that senior citizens still hold influence in society. In other words, the senior vote matters.
The Importance of the Senior Vote
As one of the most vulnerable populations in America, senior citizens are often affected by government policies in more impactful ways than other members of society. This becomes the case even more when you factor the combinations of gender, race, and sexual orientation into the mix. Both the subsets of the senior population and the senior population as a whole are greatly affected by election results.
Some of the issues affecting seniors disportionately to the rest of society include:
Healthcare — Many seniors rely on government healthcare programs such as Medicare. With the rapid increase of the senior population due to the baby boomer generation, more seniors will be relying on these programs than ever before. And yet it is programs like these that tend to suffer when budget cuts are enacted. Additionally, seniors encounter more health issues than the younger population and require greater access to quality healthcare as a result.
Housing — Affordable housing, assisted living programs, home care services, senior living facilities, and nursing homes are just a few of the housing options that are influenced by government subsidies and welfare programs. A government policy could be the deciding element to whether a senior is able to receive home care or has to go into a nursing home.
Social Security — The majority of senior citizens rely on Social Security as their main source of income and nearly 90% of adults over the age of 65 receive some form of Social Security benefits. There are currently 2.8 workers for each Social Security beneficiary. And yet by 2035, there will be 2.2 covered workers for each beneficiary — which will impact the amount of Social Security available to seniors.
The Environment — People with compromised immune systems are more affected by pollution, air quality, and contaminants in drinking water. This is especially the case for seniors, as many suffer from immune-related diseases in addition to a variety of other health problems.
LGBT Rights — Seniors face a wide range of issues as they age, and challenges are even greater for seniors who identify as LGBT. For example, LGBT seniors are more likely to be discriminated against in their careers, resulting in fewer financial resources during their older years.
Helping Seniors Exercise the Right to Vote
If you are a home caregiver or a family caregiver, there are ways you can help seniors in your care exercise their right to vote. Voting is never something that should be forced on anyone, as it is a personal choice, but many seniors do want to vote and are grateful for education regarding political issues. Below are ways to help seniors stay informed and to empower seniors to vote.
1. Provide Education.
As a vulnerable segment of the population, seniors are extra susceptible to manipulation during voting periods. Manipulation can come in the form of canvassers, political ads, yellow journalism, and even family members who want to sway a vote. As a home caregiver, you can provide pamphlets and information that is well-balanced, factual, and informative so that the seniors in your care are more empowered to make their own decisions.
2. Keep Track of Election Dates.
If a senior in your care is committed to voting in local, state, and federal elections, keeping a calendar of election dates will be helpful. The calendar can even be a creative activity that you do together. Ask your senior clients what would work best for them — options include creating a calendar from scratch, purchasing a wall calendar, making a list, or creating a calendar digitally that seniors can access on their computers or mobile devices.
3. Help with Registering to Vote.
Registering to vote can be complicated, depending on the paperwork that needs to be filled out. Picking up forms, helping seniors fill the forms out, and then submitting the forms is a helpful home care service.
4. Provide Transport to Voting Polls.
Voting stations are not always well-suited for seniors or people with disabilities. Arranging transportation and accompanying seniors to voting stations could make the difference between a senior being able to exercise their right to vote or not. You can also look into voting online and voting by mail options.
5. Contacting Local Officials.
Issues affecting seniors arise all the time. Helping the seniors in your care contact their elected officials about the issues they are passionate about will empower them to use their voice and influence not only during election periods but on a regular basis. Feeling useful and like a valued member of society can have the added benefits of boosting seniors’ confidence and self-worth.
Do You Need Home Care Services?
Home care services empower seniors in many ways by allowing individuals to age gracefully and with independence in their own homes. If you are looking for quality home caregivers from a reputable home care agency, please contact Alegre Home Care. We have a solid reputation to stand behind and always ensure that our home caregivers are the right fit for each of our clients.