Let’s say that you work for a company, corporation, government agency for thirty years. You are planning on retiring. You may have your house paid for, a car paid for, but you are dependent upon your retirement income along with social security to support you, particularly if you have medical problems. All of a sudden, one day your employer announced “we have a shortfall of money, cash flow problems.” A plan is devised to address this financial crisis and one of the recommendations is to reduce the amount of pensions that will be paid to retirees. My guess is that if you find yourself or someone that you know who is in this situation, you might likely find yourself to be feeling depressed and hopeless.

Shankar Vendantam reported on National Public Radio ( 11/23/2016 ) that:

People with more money are less likely to suffer from cognitive decline, although we don’t know why that’s the case. You know, maybe having more money reduces the risk of things like Alzheimer’s disease, but maybe it’s also something else. Research indicates that people who got more in social security payments — as a result of a congressional formula glitch in the 1970s — appear to have lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

If you are losing money that you were counting on to retire, you are going to feel bad, vulnerable, more likely to experience difficulties. This is further complicated if an elderly person is living alone without any type of significant social support system.

Imagine that you are a retired employee of the City Of Dallas, TX. You worked for the Fire Department. You read in the newspaper the following:

Mayor Mike Rawlings testified Thursday at a State Pension Review Board meeting and contradicted claims from Pension System officials that the city is legally obligated to help the retirement fund stave off insolvency. The system, which recently proposed its members cut their benefits, would need a buy-in from the city of close to $1.1 billion. That’s nearly equal to the city’s annual general fund budget. Mayor Mike Rawlings tells state board pension crisis could help.

This fiscal fight in Dallas is pitting the city council versus the pension board and the challenge is the city either puts more money in the pension fund or that property tax in the city is greatly increased.

As a retiree, you may find yourself greatly comprised.

So what do you do? Some people in this situation have been forced to move in with their adult children and thus some households are now three generational if not more. Other options have included scaling down, selling houses, moving into an apartment or assisted living. Church –related senior living facilities are also an option but their resources as well have become more limited.

This trend has been happening in several areas across the country:

Cutting the income of retirees could push some workers to lean more heavily on Social Security — which covers most, but not all, workers. Others may have to turn to younger family members to assist them, putting a squeeze on sons and daughters who in many cases are already struggling to save for their own retirements.

Cities including Chicago and San Jose have already moved to cut benefits for new or current employees as pension costs crowded out other priorities. Detroit was able to lift itself out of bankruptcy, in part by cutting pensions for retirees.

Pension plans, once inviolable promises to employees, are getting cut.

Churches and social service agencies will be challenged as to how to provide services to this growing population. Church denominations could establish more special offering programs to assist the elderly. Also more elderly members will probably have to consider sharing their residences with others.

We need to do everything possible to help people who are in this situation to recover. Helping and assisting retired people financially will be far more cost-effective over the long haul than paying for increased numbers of people who will need long-term residential Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

Better retirement income gives your brain a better boost.

May it be so.

Originally published at medium.com