According to a recent survey, seniors, especially those dependent on limited incomes, such as social security, are being severely impacted by inflation. Most have had to cut back on spending and many needed to take drastic measures, such as skipping meals.
Inflation raised to a four-decade high of 9% in June, but has dropped to a 7.7% rate in October. This has caused daily necessities such as food, shelter and energy to soar in price.
These price hikes have hit seniors hard, especially those dependent on the aforementioned limited or fixed income. The seniors on social security, whose benefits are adjusted for inflation annually, meaning the current inflation will only get reflected in payments they receive next year. And, the adjustment is based on the overall Consumer Price Index (CPI) which hasn’t risen as rapidly as the price of daily necessities.
As their monthly expenses went up by hundreds of dollars, some 94% of Americans over the age of 55 cut back on leisure and recreation spending, with almost half cutting back on use of energy. Over 35% canceled trips to see family, and over 14% had to skip meals, which equates to 1 in 7 seniors. Also, about one in ten had to delay or cancel medical procedures or even ration prescription medication. These results are from the Pollfish survey, amarket researcher, for Caring, a senior care referral service.
The poll also showed about 2 in 5 seniors worried they won’t be able to afford food and household necessities and about the same number of seniors worried they won’t be able to afford to put gas in their vehicles.
Inflation has been fueled by giant government spending during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as supply chain disruptions, the restrictive domestic energy policy of the Biden administration, and to some degree the war inUkraine.
The Biden administration claimed to have addressed inflation with the Inflation Reduction Act earlier this year. Critics have pointed out, however, that the bill does little to alleviate inflation in the short term. Much of it was infact, focused on climate change.
The administration has emphasized the bill should lower healthcare costs, yet the survey showed that this isn’t the primary concern of seniors. Only about 21% said they noticed increased healthcare costs due to inflation. By contrast, more than 94% noticed higher grocery prices, 85% noted higher gas and transportation prices, 73% saw household necessities getting more expensive, and more than 66% noticed higher energy and utility bills.
The Federal Reserve has been countering inflation by hiking interest rates in hopes of curbing demand for goods and services. As a consequence, mortgage rates have skyrocketed, throttling the housing market.
Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, recently said, “The central bank will slow down the rates increased to balance the risks involved in monetary tightening.
“History cautions strongly against prematurely loosening policy. We will stay the course until the job is done, ” Powell added.
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