Four Sacrifices Older Individuals Are Making to Afford Well being Care

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As the cost of goods and services rises, consumers on tight budgets are finding places to cut back.

However, for many, trying to trim health care expenses is not an option. Their health — and possibly their lives — depend on continuing such care. So they must look elsewhere.

More than one-third of adults age 50 and older say they have skipped basics such as food simply so they could pay for health care, according to a recent survey from Gallup and West Health, a group of nonprofits focused on lowering health care costs for seniors. The findings come from a survey of more than 6,600 US adults.

In addition, two-thirds of the older Americans surveyed said health care costs are at least a minor burden.

So where are people pulling tight on the purse strings? Following are the responses the survey respondents gave most often.

4. Utilities

Senior man wrapped in blanketStephm2506 / Shutterstock.com

Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care:

  • 8% of those ages 50-64
  • 6% of those ages 65 and older

It is tough to cut back on utilities. We all need to keep the lights on and our homes heated or cooled when the weather demands it.

Yet, some Americans have been forced to trim this bill in the past 12 months. Among those ages 50-64, Black Americans were more than twice as likely as white Americans — 15% to 7% — to make this sacrifice.

3.Food

Senior man with empty fridgeStephm2506 / Shutterstock.com

Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care:

  • 14% of those ages 50-64
  • 9% of those ages 65 and older

Food is the fuel that keeps us alive. And yet, some older Americans have no choice but to skimp on this essential item if they want to pay for health care.

Going without food is not an option, but there are several ways you can cut these costs. For more, check out:

2. Over the counter drugs

Senior man taking a pillWESTOCK PRODUCTIONS / Shutterstock.com

Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care:

  • 15% of those ages 50-64
  • 13% of those ages 65 and older

It’s difficult to call a drug anything less than an essential — whether it’s a prescription or over-the-counter medicine.

However, when times are tough and you have to make difficult decisions, the OTC medications usually go first.

Women were more likely than men to cut back here, with 15% of those age 65 or older saying they reduced their spending on it in the past 12 months compared with 10% of similarly aged men. That is consistent with the rest of the survey, which generally found women making sacrifices more often than men.

1. Clothing

Senior man shopping for clothesPhovoir / Shutterstock.com

Respondents whose households reduced spending on this in the past year to pay for health care:

  • 26% of those ages 50-64
  • 19% of those ages 65 and older

This is the area where seniors cut back the most, and it’s no surprise why. Of all the things on this list, clothing is probably the least essential.

Sure, we all need a shirt on our back. But many of us go far beyond the basics simply for the pleasure of dressing stylishly. Those who keep things simple with a basic wardrobe can save a lot of money.

Cutting back doesn’t have to mean looking frumpy or shabby. Check out “13 Ways to Save on Clothing Without Sacrificing Quality.”

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