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HomeHealth & Fitness'Life is getting too expensive': Seniors try to cope with limited budgets

'Life is getting too expensive': Seniors try to cope with limited budgets

Judith Graham

Wednesday, September 7, 2022 (Caesars News) — Economic insecurity is on the rise Upending the lives of millions as housing costs soar and inflation reduces the value of fixed income. During the covid-19 pandemic, some people have lost their jobs. Others face unbearable rent increases and the prospect of losing their homes. Still others suffered a severe sticker hit at the grocery store.

Dozens of seniors struggling with these challenges – none of them poor by government standards – give me after I show the Seniors Index Writing, a measure of the cost of aging, in a recent column. The tool, developed by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Gerontology Institute, shows that 54 percent of older women living alone earn less than what is needed to cover basic expenses. For single men, the figure is 45%.

To learn more, I spoke at length with three women who contacted me and offered to share very personal details of their lives. Their stories illustrate how the unexpected — pandemics and their economic consequences, natural disasters and domestic abuse — can lead to unexpected instability in later life, even for those who have worked hard for decades in this way.

Betty Cohen

“After 33 years in my condo, I will have to move because the new owner of this building is renovating all the condos and is paying monthly I can’t afford to charge more than $1,800 to $2,500 in rent.”

Cohen, 79, was told that she The owner of an apartment complex in Towson, Maryland, has been distraught after sharply raising rents while upgrading units. She pays $989 a month for a one-bedroom apartment with a patio. A similar condo that was recently renovated was listed for $1,900.

This is a national trend affecting all age groups: As landlords respond to high demand, rents have risen by 9.2% year over year.

Cohen was told her lease would be cancelled at the end of January and she would be charged $1,200 per month until her apartment was needed to be renovated and she was moved out houses.


“Disaster, I can’t tell you,” she said in a phone conversation . “Having lived in one place for thirty-three years, let you know that I’m a very boring person, but I’m also a very down-to-earth, very stable person. In a million years, I never thought something like this would happen in On me.”

During his long career, Cohen worked as a department store risk manager and insurance agent. She retired in 2007. Today, she earns $2,426 a month: $1,851 in Social Security after Medicare Part B coverage, $308 in an IRA, and $267 in a small pension.

In addition to rent, Cohen estimates she spends $200 to $240 a month on food, $165 on phone and internet, $25 on Medicare Advantage premiums, Spend $20 on dental care, $22 on gas, and $100 or more on incidentals such as cleaning products and toiletries.

This doesn’t include non-routine expenses like new partial dentures Cohen needed (she guessed they would cost $1,200) or the $3,400 she spent years ago in a small savings account Hearing aids purchased in dollars. If forced to relocate, Cohen estimates the move would cost as much as $1,000.

Cohen looks for apartments in her area, but many are in smaller buildings with no elevators and not easily accessible to people with severe arthritis Yes, she has. Rent for one-bedroom units is $1,200 and up, excluding utilities, and may require an additional $200 or more. A waiting list for the first two years of senior housing.

“I’m in pain,” Cohen told me. “I often wake up in the middle of the night because my brain doesn’t shut down. Everything is so overwhelming.”

Carrie England

“It’s become too expensive to live. I’ve lost everything, Crashing every day because I don’t know how to survive at the cost of living.”

61-year-old The Englishman thought she was growing old in a three-bedroom home in Winchester, Virginia, which she said she bought with her partner in 1999. But that dream shattered in January 2021.


Around that time, England was surprised to find that her name did not appear on her The deed of the house that has been living in. Thinking it had been arranged, she contacted a legal aid lawyer, hoping to get back the money she put into the property. Without proof of ownership, lawyers told her she didn’t have a leg to stand on.

“My nest is the house. It’s gone. It’s my investment. I’m safe,” England told me.

England’s story is complicated. She told me that she and her partner ended their long-term romantic relationship in 2009 but continued to live together as friends. That changed during the pandemic, when he stopped working and England’s job as a caterer and hospitality specialist came to an abrupt end.

“His personality changed a lot,” she said, and “I started experiencing emotional abuse.”

In response, England joined Medicaid and arranged eight meetings with a therapist who specialized in domestic abuse. Those ended in November 2021, and she hasn’t been able to find another therapist since. “If I wasn’t so worried about my housing situation, I think I could handle and deal with everything that happened,” she told me.

After moving in early 2021, England moved out of her home to Ashburn, Virginia, where she rented a flat for $1,511 a month apartment. (She wrongly believed she was eligible for Loudoun County assistance.) The total, including utilities and trash removal, was more than $1,700 a month.

Earning about $2,000 a month, she maintains it by doing odd jobs as much as possible, and everything else available in England is less than $300. She has no savings. “I don’t have a life. I don’t do anything but try to find a job, go to work and go home,” she said.

England knows her housing costs are unsustainable and she has put her name on more than a dozen waiting lists for affordable or public housing. But it’s nearly impossible for her to see progress on that front anytime soon.


“If I were a young man, I would To be able to recover from all the hardships I’ve had,” she told me. “I never imagined I would be in this situation at my age.”

Elaine Ross

“Please help! I just turned 65 and [am] disabled by disability. My husband has social security and we can’t even afford groceries. That’s not how I think about the golden years.”

When asked about her troubles, Rose, 65, recounted the 2007 Groundhog Day tornado that swept through central Florida, destroying her home. It was too late that she learned that her insurance coverage was insufficient and that most of her items could not be replaced.

To make ends meet, Ross started two jobs: as a hairdresser and a convenience store customer service representative. She bought a new home with her new husband, mechanic Douglas Ross. Recovery seems possible.

Then Elaine Ross fell twice in a few years, broke her leg, and ended up having three hip replacements. To manage her diabetes and pain, Ross quit her job in 2016 and applied for Social Security disability insurance, which now pays $919 a month.

She has no pension. Douglas stopped working in 2019 and can no longer cope with the demands of his job due to a bad back. He also has no pension. Douglas pays $1,051 a month in Social Security, and the couple lives on just over $23,600 a year. Their meager savings were exhausted by various emergency expenses, and they sold their house.

The rent in Empire Alabama, where they now live, is $540 per month. Other regular expenses include $200 per month for truck and gas, $340 for Medicare Part B, $200 for electricity, $100 for medication, $70 for phone calls, and hundreds of dollars for food — none of which Ross does Provide accurate estimates.

“All this inflation is killing us,” she said. Nationally, food prices for household consumption are expected to rise 10% to 11% this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


To cut costs despite 90s summer temperatures High, but Ross keeps the air conditioner off or higher during peak electricity bill hours (1pm to 7pm). “I was sweating and wearing as little clothes as possible,” she said.

“It’s horrible,” she continued. “I know I’m not the only elderly person in this situation, but I’ve spent my life doing all the right things to fit the situation I’m in, and it’s been a pain.”




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