Expert on poverty in old age: “Many do not dare to go to the table”

Today the congress #Abolish poverty starts. Women are particularly affected by poverty in old age, says Ann-Kathrin Kelle from the “Groschendreher” association.

A saleswoman behind the counter of a food counter

Older people are reluctant to go to the Tafel, even when money is tight Photo: Michael Schick/imago

taz: Ms. Kelle, the Kiel alliance against poverty in old age “Groschenschieber” deals with poverty in old age and is appearing at the digital action congress of the joint general association, which starts on Thursday afternoon. What is special about poverty in old age compared to other groups of people affected by poverty?

Ann-Kathrin Kelle: Among those affected by poverty in old age are many women who, due to the large gaps in their employment history, unpaid family work, perhaps even a divorce, now only have a small pension and have therefore found themselves in this situation. They did care work, maybe worked part-time and are now poor. This is a societal problem and is now being made into an individual problem for people.

These women could be proud of their lifetime achievements…

Of course, but you have to see the images that prevail in society at the moment. Currently it is the image of the working woman who is also a mother. That is promoted. This can put pressure on older women who were housewives and mothers at a time when there were no day care places, at least not in the West, and when men could still forbid women to work.

Older people can no longer work to escape poverty.

The emergency situation, the poverty situation can no longer be changed by gainful employment. The fact that there is no such hope puts pressure on their well-being.

It is often said that older people do not go to the basic security office if their pension is not enough. Is that your experience too?

We experience that too. This is partly due to the fact that the information about the right to basic security is not that great. But it also has to do with the sense of autonomy. Being able to cope with the situation yourself, using your own resources, has a different quality and is associated with something different than when I’m dependent on others. Many old people have this mindset. The proportion of people in Kiel with basic security in old age is around 7 percent. However, it is estimated that 30 percent are unreported and do not perceive their claim.

What are the old people saving on when they have so little money at their disposal?

New clothes, for example, are not bought. A woman said she wanted to buy a cauliflower at the supermarket. But four euros for a cauliflower was just too much. The medication is also a problem. You have to pay for non-prescription medicines yourself, such as painkillers and cold remedies. If medicines are not bought because one does not have the money, the state of health worsens even more.

Do the older people affected by poverty go to the table?

The group that withdraws tends to go less to the table. The people who are a bit more open about their situation, who are more extroverted, come to the table and then endure the shame and stigmatization.

Hasn’t that gotten better with the stigmatization?

The topic of poverty has become more public, also thanks to the hashtag “I am poverty-affected”. But I don’t have the impression that the stigma has decreased. Maybe people just don’t dare to publicly denigrate poverty.

What actions is your alliance planning and what do you hope to gain from the action congress “Poverty? Abolish!”?

The elderly poor group needs more attention. Child security is currently the big issue. The group of older people affected by poverty must not be forgotten. We draw attention to advisory services and want to network professionals with people affected by poverty. We are a member of the Paritätisches Gesamtverband and also share the view that basic security needs to be increased.

Ultimately, it’s about participation, for example being able to afford to have a coffee at the bakery, to be able to afford bus rides, if you want to buy something special somewhere or want to drive into the forest, things like that.

#Expert #poverty #age #table
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