August 17

Inflation Continues to Hit Older Adults Hard

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

I keep hearing glowing reports about our economy here in the United States. Our economy is strong. Wages are up. Inflation is decreasing. Everybody is doing well.

Yet reports note that the increases in wages have failed to keep up with inflation. Other reports describe how older adults, especially those who are retired or are contemplating retirement, are being hit particularly hard.

A recent survey indicates that the proposed 2024 increase in Social Security benefits of about 3% will not be enough to help older adults cover the increased cost of essentials such as food, housing, and medications.

Just look at the price of groceries. In July of this year, the price of groceries increased by 4.9% from July of 2022. Yes, less than the 6.7% increase from May of 2022 to May of 2023, but still well above 3%.

The retail price of some of the most widely used brand-name prescription drugs continue to increase at twice the rate of inflation. A recent NBC News report indicated that the number of older adults who cannot afford the medications prescribed by their doctor is growing. As of 2022, one in five adults 65 years of age or older have either skipped or delayed getting their medications because of the cost. Many older adults struggle to balance paying for their food and paying for their medication.

In terms of housing, the rate of inflation for rental rates did drop slightly in July 2023 – 7.69% versus 7.83% in July of 2022.

The price of gasoline has risen significantly in recent weeks to the highest level since October of 2022.

When a recent Harris Poll asked retirees about their biggest financial shocks in retirement, inflation and the rising cost of living topped the list.

Is ageism the reason why older adults are continually asked to pay such a high price? Or is there another reason?

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