The North Texas Daily (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 70, No. 90, Ed. 1 Friday, March 27, 1987 Page: 2 of 8
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The North Texas Daily
Friday, March 27, 1987
Fast-food places offer
senior citizens jobs
Due to a decline in the number of teen-agers in the
United States and the rise in the number of senior citizens,
several fast-food restaurants are making the most of the
situation, and are starting to recruit senior citizens as
Teen-agers constitute about 85 percent of the fast-food
work force. Yet, since 1981, the number of teen-agers
has declined by 2 million. It is estimated that by the
mid-1990s, there will be 5 million fewer teen-agers.
In areas such as Boston and California, where young
people can find “low-skill employment" in the computer
industry. Burger King is paying commuting costs for
older workers. Burger King has placed employment
advertisements in retirement magazines and is sending
personnel recruiters to senior citizens to state the com-
Wendy's is also making a pitch to the elderly. Rather
than placing ads, Wendy’s has assigned people around
the country to visit senior citizen center and other places
where older people congregate.
McDonald’s has probably the most well-known cam-
paign to recruit senior citizens. It’s a television commercial
which shows an elderly gentleman going to work for
McDonald’s and then going home to remark to his wife,
“I don’t know how they got along without me.”
McDonald’s McMasters program is geared toward
retirees who want to beat our society’s stereotype of the
elderly as those who just sit around at home, either tending
to the garden or knitting sweaters.
This new recruitment plan that many fast food places
are enacting has many good features.
It gives senior citizens a sense of self-esteem to know
they can do something that they consider worthwhile.
Once many people retire, they find they have more time
on their hands than they want and look for something
useful to do.
Giving senior citizens a part-time job not only gives
them a sense of self-worth, but, since it is a part-time
job, they avoid the income limitations that would conflict
with their receiving social security benefits. Allowing
senior citizens this opportunity to work is a long time in
coming. However, working should be a matter of choice.
Of course, some college students might find them-
selves being beaten out of a job by a grandmother or
grandfather and get their feathers a bit ruffled. And, the
unfairness of the elderly getting both social security and
part-time pay while most college students can look forward
to only part-time pay is a debatable issue.
But if people could look past the “harsh realities of
life” and put themselves in the place of the elderly—or
even go so far as to visit a nursing home or a senior
citizens center—then they would realize that their ar-
guments would mean very little.
So, giving these senior citizens a second chance at
life by providing them opportunities to work is something
that has been a long time in coming and is worth keeping,
but not worth exploiting.
The Realities of Aging
Rising number of elderly
face decrease in finances
By Lisa Mitcham
Unless you’re really rich, don’t plan
on spending your retirement years in the
best of conditions. In fact, Dr. Susan Eve,
chairwoman of NT's sociology department,
said that most people should anticipate
having to live in a nursing home.
According to a pamphlet provided by
the Program Resources Department, the
American Association of Retired Persons,
the Administration on Aging and the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Ser-
vices, persons 65 years of age or older,
numbered 28.5 million in 1985. They
represent 12 percent of the U.S, population
(about one in every eight persons). The
number of older Americans has increased
by II percent since 1980, compared to
an increase of 4 percent for the 64 and
younger population. Keep in mind that
the older population is expected to continue
to grow in the future. The fastest increase
is expected between the years 2010 and
2030 when the “baby boomers" reach
the age of 65.
BY THE YEAR 2030, there will be
about 65 million older persons. By the
year 2000, persons 65 and older are ex-
pected to represent 13 percent of the
population. By 2030, there will be a 7.2
Add to these staggering statistics the
fact that older people now have an average
life expectancy of an additional 16.8 years
(18.6 years for females and 14.6 males)
and the fact that once a person reaches
the retirement age their incomes are cut
in half, then the elderly can definitely look
forward to having financial problems.
In the '60s, programs were started to
benefit the elderly. These programs had
a lot of support until the ’70s, when the
support started to decline. Since Reagan
has become president, the cuts his admin-
istration has made has had an even more
negative effect on health care benefits for
the elderly. Insurance policies such as
Medicare and Medicaid pay for only a
fraction of the costs that older people who
are hospitalized require to pay their bills.
As a result, hospitals have an incentive
to get older persons out early or not accept
them at all. Either way, there is great
concern that the elderly in today’s society
will not get the required medical assistance
that they need.
TWO PERCENT OF people between
the ages of 65 and 74 live in nursing
homes and institutions. Seven percent
between the ages of 75 and 84 also live
in nursing homes and institutions, as do
23 percent of people 85 and older. In 1980,
only 5 percent of the population 65 and
older lived in nursing homes and institu-
tions. So, between 1980 and the present,
there has been a 27 percent increase in
the number of elderly in nursing homes
and institutions. Since Medicaid was
started, the number of available nursing
home beds has increased.
Eve said that the majority of older
people in nursing homes are women. This
is because older men are more likely to
be married. However, one of the biggest
problems with nursing homes is the cost.
The average cost of a nursing home in
$20,000 a year. Yet, data from the U.S.
Bureau of the Census shows that 46 per-
cent of elderly persons living alone or with
non-relatives in 1985 received $7,000 or
less. Twenty-four percent had incomes less
than $5,000 and 20 percent had $15,000
or more. The median income in 1985 for
elderly persons was $7,568 ($7,922 for
whites and $5,027 for blacks).
Although nursing homes must meet a
lot of state requirements to keep their
licenses and stay open, there is growing
demand for beds in nursing homes, and
states are very reluctant to close down
nursing homes if they don’t.
SOME NURSING HOMES specialize
in personal care. Others specialize in
nursing care. Yet, since most of the people
in nursing homes will spend the rest of
their lives in a nursing home, older people
need plenty of social activities, too.
"One of the misconceptions about
nursing homes is that people think that
people in nursing homes don’t need to
be there. Another myth is that once a
person goes into a nursing home, they
won’t come out," Eve said. Yet, since
nursing home cost arc so high, most of
the people that need to be in nursing homes
can’t afford it. And people often forget
that a nursing homes arc often used as
post-hospital medical care, and stays may
last a very short time.
“It’s very hard for older people to leave
their homes to go to a nursing home,"
The Mental Health Association of Tar-
rant County suggests that while trying to
find a nursing home, people should make
lists of nursing homes in their area that
seem to fit the preferences and needs of
the person who will be placed in the
nursing home. The Area Agency on Aging
is also a good source of information.
“Most people accept aging as they go
along,” Eve said. "The hardest part may
be coping with reduced finances."
American society lacks respect the elderly deserve
By Edward Hastings
No one ever thinks about it when they are
young, because they don’t have to. When a
person is young all they need to worry about
is whether or not they get fed and clothed.
Oh! And allowance, too. But the young seldom
think about death and old age. It seems the
only ones American citizens leave the task
of worrying, or rather I should say caring,
for the aged, are the old themselves or the
The thought of growing old and dying is
a frightening one. And every person has their
own view of life after death or if there is
any life after death at all. So for one to think
about what will happen to oneself after they
are dead, is confusing and mysterious to say
For those whose lives are not so secure
and their futures not so certain, becoming
old can be a sobering thought.
Take this for exai-.ple; according to the
poison center at Georgetown University, from
500 to 800 hearing aid batteries, c ,ien mis-
taken for pills, are swallowed each year. This
may seem humorous to some of us, but to
the elderly this can be humiliating and em-
barassing, if not just hazardous to their health.
Embarassing incidents, such as swallowing
hearing aid batteries, are not uncommon to
the aging. Loss of hearing and memory are
quite often used to ridicule the old. How often
do we hear friends or relatives say, "Don’t
mind my grandpa, he’s just old and senile.
He just doesn’t know what’s going on any-
People just don’t give the respect to the
elderly like they should. Yes, being old means
we give up certain things like: youthful looks,
becoming parents (naturally, that is), strenuous
physical exertions such as football, wrestling;
or rugby and maybe even teeth. These things
most elderly are forced to give up, but must
society strip away dignity and common
When most of us come up on age 40, it is
considered a milestone in our lives. We
become “over the hill” and women are
expected soon (if they haven’t already) to
experience menopause, and for the men, well,
we undergo the "mid-life crisis.” We begin
to feel older and the forewarning signs of
aging and decrepitude become evident with
the body. For most of us, there are always
exceptions. With the age of physical aware-
ness upon us, we are starting to see more
and more older people becoming physically fit.
This shouldn’t be surprising though, be-
cause with all the advances in technology
and medicine, the average life expectancy is
forever climbing. In a recent article in U.S.
News and World Report, it was stated there
are 37,000 Americans that are 100 or over,
and that by the year 2080 there will be about
1.9 million Americans 100 or over.
As a matter of fact, many speculators are
forecasting that within the next few years
there will be a tremendous consumer market
for the elderly. That’s right, but along with
this booming market comes the questions, too.
• Who will care for the old who can’t
afford to pay for their medical expenses?
• How do we plan to house the elderly, if
we plan to house them at all?
• And what kind of security may we offer
the aged who can no longer protect them-
These are just a few questions that U.S.
citizens will face or are already facing today.
The population among people 60 and older
is definitely increasing, but just because people
are living longer doesn’t mean they are
without problems, quite the opposite. Disease,
cancer and psychological stresses will still
affect the elderly as they do today.
Disease and cancer are easier to deal with,
but the psychological aspects of growing old
are a little bit harder to understand. It can
become tragic and painful when one begins
to feel alone and afraid. A 1977 survey found
that nearly 800,000 persons 65 years and older
reported having emotional conditions that
limited their activities. Not only that, but
suicide rates are also up. In 1981, the nearly
5,000 suicides committed by persons 65 years
or older represented 17.4 percent of all
suicides by persons 15 years or older in the
nation, although older persons were only 14.7
psreent of this population group.
It is certainly no fun to live in fear, either.
One in five residences occupied by persons
60 and older is victimized annually by a
property crime, according to the National
Rural Crime Prevention Center at Ohio State
University. Society would learn a great deal
more from the elderly simply by asking.
The elderly have so much to offer, and we
give so little in return. True, turning old may
be a sad thought, but only if we let it. If
a person chooses to dwell on his or her
past and wallow in self-pity, it will take them
nowhere. No place of satifaction, that is.
Instead, we should take our past and use it
to give us an idea of where we stand and
face the reality of death with a happy ending,
or better yet, a new beginning.
Here’s what’s next.
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Richards, Joey D. The North Texas Daily (Denton, Tex.), Vol. 70, No. 90, Ed. 1 Friday, March 27, 1987, newspaper, March 27, 1987; Denton, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth561437/m1/2/: accessed June 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.