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Some senior citizens try to hide their money troubles

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Joan Baker sold her car because gasoline got too expensive and she couldn't afford the insurance.That was two years ago, long before gas prices got close to $4 per gallon.Baker, 77, of Lawrence, now struggles with other high costs. She lives on a fixed income, just as do many senior citizens."My utility bills are always so much and groceries on top of that," she said.Baker does have help from her children but "they have a life too," she said. She has someone drive her to the doctor and back home without charge. If she needs to go other places she takes buses run by the Lawrence Senior Center and Babcock Place. A caseworker from the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging also checks in on her.Medication bills are things Baker said she doesn't have to worry about, thanks to Medicare and Medicaid.Baker isn't afraid to talk about the financial problems she faces, but other seniors often are, said Gail Shaheed, manager of Home Instead Senior Care offices in Lawrence and Topeka. Home Instead is a private business that provides in-home, non-medical care to seniors.Caregivers with Home Instead have been seeing more instances of seniors trying to cut back on their expenses while not wanting to discuss any financial problems they might be facing, Shaheed said. Food and energy costs are the big concern, she said - so much so that seniors might start cutting back on meals."We've had family members call us and say 'mom's not eating well. She's not preparing meals like she should," Shaheed said. "Anything like that is going to be a hindrance to seniors because their health is going to decline."Another sign of cutting back is letting a house or apartment get too hot because the air conditioner isn't running or has been set too high, Shaheed said.Other signs of a senior possibly having financial problems include not getting the lawn mowed and wanting to delay prescription refills.Have you had similar experiences with your elderly parents or relatives? If you have and you're willing to talk about them, [send me an e-mail][1].On another subject, have you been laid off from a good job during the past year? Are you without health insurance now? Or have you been rehired at a new job that pays less than the old one did and provides little or no health insurance? I would like to hear your stories. [1]: http://www2.ljworld.com/staff/mike_belt/contact

Comments

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 7 years ago

Pennies on the dollar are no solution to this problem.

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