Since the economic turmoil, I've seen older adults (70+) concerned about their ability to afford daily living. Believing that the Great Depression could never happen again, they stopped storing their savings under their mattresses (like their parents did) and responsibly invested their "nest egg" into the stock market. Unfortunately, this decision has bit'em big! And at a time in their life when they are the most vulnerable.
According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, between October 9, 2007 and October 8, 2008, "... the value of equities in pension plans and household portfolios fell by $7.4 trillion. Of that $7.4 trillion decline, $2 trillion occurred in 401(k)s and IRAs, $1.9 trillion in public and private defined benefit plans and $3.6 trillion in household non-pension assets."
What's even more concerning is this 70+ age group is primarily widowed women. (The average life span for American males is 75.2 years, and the average life span for women is now 80 years.) Most are not technologically proficient nor do they have the physical capacity to cope with the daily stress/demands of full-time employment (assuming it can be found) to provide them with income.
What condition would our country's older population be in today if the movement to privatize Social Security prevailed?
If this economic debacle teaches us nothing else, I hope we have learned one thing: The U.S. free market does not regulate greedy, immoral business behavior.