261492 Elder Economic Security Standard™ Index (Elder Index) in California

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 2:42 PM - 2:54 PM

D. Imelda Padilla-Frausto, MPH , UCLA Fielding School of Public Health & UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Steven Wallace, PhD , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Eva M. Durazo, MPH , UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, Los Angeles, CA
Background: The Federal Poverty Guideline Level (FPL) is a single national level based on 1950s standard of living and is used widely in both planning and program eligibility.

Objectives: To develop and test an alternative measure of economic security that better reflects California's costs and standard of living.

Methods: Using publically available data, calculate the income needed by older adults in California's counties for a basic decent standard of living. Based on actual costs for housing, food, medical care, transportation, and estimated other costs in 2011. For the first time, costs are calculated for elders in households with younger adults and children as well.

Results: The basic cost of living in California for older adults averages over twice the FPL. The analysis documents the impact of high housing costs in urban areas and high health care costs in rural areas. The amount needed in multigenerational families is similarly higher than the FPL, with the extra health care costs of the older adults an important component of costs.

Conclusions: The FPL is a seriously flawed measure of economic need for older adults. The Elder Index provides a better indicator of economic security and its recent incorporation into state law provides a better planning tool.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the methodology used to calculate the Federal Poverty Guideline. Identify the key components of spending by older adults and how they drive needed income. Show how income needs vary by county and family type.

Keywords: Aging, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have collaborated on the development, publication and advocacy of the California Elder Economic Security Standard Index since it was first release in 2007.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.