DEAR HARRIETTE: I got a letter from an old friend that was very disturbing to me. She is at retirement age and has to keep working, like most people I know, because she doesn’t have ample retirement money. She is worried about how she will take care of herself when she gets older, because she is unmarried and doubts that she can work forever. She sounded so sad. I don’t have any real answers for her, but I do want to be of support. What do you say to somebody who will be broke before she dies? -- Loss for Words
DEAR LOSS FOR WORDS: This is an increasingly common and worrisome reality for many seniors. For a variety of reasons -- health being at the top of the list -- elders in America, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, find themselves in dire need of support at a time when they feel most vulnerable. The good news is that when people truly are in financial distress, there are government programs that are designed to help them. This means anything from vouchers for public housing to Medicaid -- plus many more. You have to do your research, but tell your friend there is support out there. Go to seniorliving.org/research/government-aid for more information.
It is also true that many seniors work well past the age of 65 and can have lucrative jobs. For quite a few seniors, that means reinventing themselves and possibly making a pivot in the road to pursue a different line of work. Encore is a company that pairs seasoned professionals with not-for-profits. For 10 years, it has successfully matched professionals with fulfilling roles that sometimes turn into full-time work. Visit encore.org/fellowships for more information. Your friend can also go to aarp.org to learn about benefits and opportunities available to people over 50.