July 23, 2009

Seniors cutting back on medications, food

Some senior citizens are making drastic cuts to their medical and food budgets due to the recession, a U.S. survey suggests.

The survey by The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior group, conducted during a three-month period earlier this year, indicates 42 percent of seniors had either postponed filling their prescription medications or were taking a smaller dosage than prescribed by their physicians.

The survey of more than 1,040 respondents age 65 and older also says 62 percent had cut back on doctor visits or outpatient services and 77 percent had reduced their spending on food items.

Millions of seniors have been struggling to make ends meet for many years, Daniel O'Connell, chairman of The Senior Citizens League, says in a statement. But this survey makes clear that the recession has made things go from bad to worse for older Americans.

Thirty-two percent of respondents report that their drug plan increased its co-pay or co-insurance in 2009; 18 percent say they would have to postpone their retirement; and 6 percent report having to take Social Security earlier than expected due to job cuts.

No margin of error was provided.