Elderly face difficulties in economic downturn

For most middle-class Americans, coping with the wobbly economy might mean a vacation closer to home or fewer restaurant dinners.

For senior citizens on fixed incomes? It means taking the bus to church instead of the car. Trips to food banks for staples like canned beans and rice. Maybe even skipping a meal or a dose of medicine to get through the month.

A recent report by AARP suggests that older Americans may be making some risky choices in the interest of saving money in tough times. The national telephone survey found that 59 percent of people 65 and older have found it more difficult in recent months to pay for essentials including food, gas and medicine. Nearly half said they have postponed paying their utility bills, and 10 percent said they have cut back on medications.

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