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Women and aging: A crisis unfolds

A new Muskie Center report on economic security shows there are twice as many women as men over age 65 and living alone in Maine. They also earn 20 percent less in retirement benefits – often the result of pay inequity and dropping in and out of the work force to care for family members.

Outdated policies around social services and a dearth of direct care workers mean many of Maine’s older residents face severe economic hardship and isolation, a situation more pronounced for women. What’s being done and what can be done?

Join moderator Carol Coultas and panelists Jessica Maurer, executive director of the Maine Council on Aging, and Destie Hohman Sprague, executive director of Maine Women’s Lobby as they explore the policies and innovations to help aging Mainers.

The impact of ageism has pronounced effects, especially in Maine, which has the oldest median age in the country. Here are some resources to better understand those impacts:

April 2022: Press Herald report on how pay gaps and undervalued work create a lifetime of financial insecurity for women.

April 2022: Yale public health professor and researcher concludes that ageism can harm a person’s mental and physical health.

January 2022: An analysis from the Muskie School of Public Service examining the economic security of older Maine women found that thousands lack the economic security to meet their basic needs because of accumulated effects of a lifetime of economic disparities.

May 2022: Maine Calling episode examining resilience and adaptability of older Mainers.

Summer 2020: Maine Magazine lays out Mills administration’s policy stands on older Mainers.

2015: A Maine Policy Review analysis of the economics of aging in Maine makes five recommendations.

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