By Dr. Yanira Cruz
Seniors: we have often been guided by their wisdom and experience. Who doesn’t remember listening to their Grandfather’s stories or being guided by their Grandmother’s advice? Often, though, that wisdom and experience gets lost in public debates and election cycles. Seniors have always made up an important voting bloc, but today their influence is felt more than ever because of large demographic shifts in the U.S. As the baby boomer generation continues to retire and age over the coming decades, seniors will gain more clout at the polls as the U.S. becomes an aging population.
Seniors having more influence on public policy and politics can help the nation to benefit from their wisdom and experience. It also serves to help focus the country on issues important to seniors. What are the issues that concern seniors the most? Well, yesterday, I was honored to take part in a public forum representing Hispanic seniors with 2016 President Candidates called Seniors Decide 2016.
Seniors Decide 2016 is a public forum providing Presidential Candidates with an unbiased platform and the opportunity for them to share their views on issues critical to older Americans. It was developed by the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, of which the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) is a member. Seniors Decide 2016 was broadcasted through a streaming webcast and provided a platform for social media before, during and after the forum. Seniors across the nation were invited to submit their questions ahead of time via the Seniors Decide 2016 website. I was honored to represent Hispanic seniors during the event.
Key issues that were discussed during Seniors Decide 2016 included the following:
- The importance of retirement security, including financial security and Medicare. People facing retirement age in the future are worried that Medicare might not be available for them. This was a key concern across all senior demographics.
- A second issue that was a key concern across all senior demographics was concern about being able to cover basic necessities during one’s senior years and the future strength of the Social Security system.
- A key question stemming from concerns in the Hispanic community and posed by NHCOA is how the next President will reduce hunger among seniors.
The event provided the opportunity for the candidates to respond to these issues and many more. For more information on Seniors Decide 2016 and highlights of the event, go to www.seniorsdecide.org. The 2016 presidential election is going to be an extremely important one for our nation and for our seniors! Be informed and make your voices heard through your vote throughout the primaries and next November!