PHOENIX (AP) – Lenore Ange never thought she’d have to go back to work at age 76.
With a sick husband and the highest prices she can remember for everything from milk to gasoline, a retired school lunch worker from Cleveland, Ohio, now works part-time in sales at a local department store to cover food and drug costs.
“The holidays are going to be tough, and it’s not just for seniors,” said Angey, who said she’s happy to have an extra 10 hours a week during the busy shopping season. “Luckily, my daughter-in-law prepared all the food for Thanksgiving and I brought some food. But the celebration of Christmas will definitely be more modest.
Inflation may be easing, but higher prices in 2022 are still affecting older adults, who, like Angey, say they feel their finances are worse than they were a year ago. Consumer price inflation rose 7.1 percent in November from a year ago.
While people of all ages are struggling, those over 65 often have a tougher time because they often live on a fixed income, unable to supplement their paychecks with overtime or bonus pay.
In the year As many baby boomers, who turned 65 in 2011, join the ranks of retirees, the problem will become more widespread in the coming years. In the year By 2050, the U.S. population age 65 and older will be 83.9 million, nearly double the number in 2012 (43.1 million), the Census Bureau projects.
Angie earns less than $1,000 a month with a small pension from the school district and Social Security. She said her husband earns a little more.
Anjay was one of the participants in the AARP report. A survey released last month found that more than a third of people aged 65 and over said their financial situation at mid-year was worse than it had been 12 months earlier. That was a big jump from the 13% of adults 65 and older who said the same in January.
The seniors were among 4,817 adults who participated in the semiannual survey conducted in July in all 50 states and the District of Columbia on behalf of AARP at the University of Chicago. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.57%.
While a large share of people of all ages reported a difficult financial struggle this year, a breakdown by age shows that older people are more pessimistic about their own economic future. While nearly half of adults ages 30-49 think their money will improve over 12 months, just over a quarter of those 50 and older think the same.
This year’s inflation-driven financial crisis has forced many seniors to make tough decisions, said Dana Kennedy, Arizona director of AARP.
“Many people are living on fixed incomes and downsizing or delaying retirement,” Kennedy said.
Survey participant Frank Hiller, 62, of Easthampton, New Jersey, said the price hike has him rethinking retirement and whether he and his wife will be able to stay in their four-bedroom home in retirement.
“I used to think he was 65, but now I think he’s 67,” said Hiller, who works as an auto technician at a car dealership. “And we thought we’d stay in our house, but we might downsize. It’s a lot of space and costs a lot to keep up.
Although the Hiller family hasn’t made significant changes to keep up with inflation, they’ve been re-examining their Internet and cable TV packages, thinking they might eventually have to drop the Internet phone line.
Kennedy, of AARP Arizona, said rising apartment prices in her state have pushed many seniors out of the rental market.
Casey Dungan, 73, says she’s lucky to have Sandy, her 11-year-old dachshund mix, at an assisted living facility for older adults in Phoenix after falling into homelessness earlier this year.
Still, the cost of food and other bills means the entire Social Security check is gone at the end of the month.
“I don’t have money to go to the fair or anything,” said Dungan, a widow who does her own shopping and cooking, although she sometimes uses a walker.
She said she is looking forward to next month, when millions of Social Security recipients will receive an 8.7% increase in benefits.
The average recipient will receive more than $140 a month in the biggest cost-of-living adjustment in more than 40 years. About 70 million people receive Social Security benefits, including retirees, the disabled, and children.
“I’m hoping that it will help me buy more groceries, especially with inflation,” said Dungan, who receives a monthly food box for adults through a federal program to get enough food.
Lois Nieman, 85, of Phoenix, is lucky to have her health and use her Social Security payments to work part-time as an adjunct community college instructor, coordinating clinical experience for future nurses at local hospitals.
Still, inflation has made things a bit more difficult this year, meaning she and her neighbor go out for dinner once a month instead of every week.
“For Thanksgiving, I bought two turkey legs instead of a whole turkey,” said Neiman, who lives with a son in his 60s. “I can’t believe how much stuff comes out in the grocery store now. When things are on sale, I try to go down with the price from a year ago.
This report was written with support from a journalism fellowship from the Gerontological Society of America, the Journalists’ Network on Generations, and the John A. Hartford Foundation.