It is not just that we are aging. We are aging in a very rapidly changing social context. Every day we have conversations with seniors of all income levels about future plans. We meet people with abundant cash assets to get them through. We meet many seniors who have some assets in cash and a house, and with prudent planning they will be alright. But it’s tricky, and they have to be smart.

And we meet many who are getting by on just Social Security. Things can be pretty tough for these folks.

There is no getting around the fact that the amount of money we have as we enter our senior years is an insulator against the hardships of poverty. Social Security income is the only source of income for one in three Mainers aged 65 and older. Without Social Security income, almost half of Maine’s 65-plus citizens would be living in poverty.

The President’s budget proposals and what form it takes coming through the House and Senate will have great influence upon all seniors in our country, and upon the seniors and their families of this state.

There are Congressional proposals altering Social Security and other programs vital to seniors that would drastically alter the social fabric of our state. The discussion is to raise the benefit age to 69, and to change the formula by which benefits are calculated so that benefits would be reduced. The age for Medicare benefits would also be increased.

Then there are the proposed $600 billion cuts to Medicaid, which will affect funding for long-term care for seniors. MaineCare funding is already nowhere near being able to meet the actual needs.

The budget eliminates the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program assists seniors with heating costs.

The budget eliminates the Community Services Block Grant. This is a major blow to Meals on Wheels program, a vital service for many.

As seniors ourselves, with adult children and grandchildren, we are definitely mindful that we do not want out younger generations bearing an increasing financial burden as the aged population of Maine increases. Every age group is increasing in numbers … people who are 90 to 100, and 80 to 90, and 70 to 80, as well as those 65 to 70.

There are many different beliefs about the proper role of the federal government in addressing the issues of social fabric in our country. We are grateful that our Senators Susan Collins and Angus King are trying to find a way to cut through the political rhetoric in what, in effect if not intent, amounts to a war on middle class and lower income seniors. Conservative Senator Mike Lee from Utah is also noteworthy for crossing normal ideological lines to come up with better solutions supporting the social fabric of our country.

We are hoping the national and state discourse can rise above ideology and party lines, and take a good hard look at what our society will look like if the President’s proposals were to become law.

Jill Wallace is the owner and director of Elm Street Assisted Living in Topsham. Steve Raymond is director of community outreach at the Lincoln Home in Newcastle, and the producer and host of the television show “Spotlight on Seniors.”