Seniors have much to be concerned about in 2022


By BETH DOW, Solutions by Beth

Seniors in Georgia were recently asked to state their biggest concerns.  

The No. 1 concern was inflation.  Which, at the time of this writing, was at 8.3 percent. 

At No. 2 … drug costs.  According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, 75 of the 100 brand name drugs with the highest Medicare Part D spending in 2020 saw their list prices increase in January 2022; none experienced a decrease. The average increase was 5 percent, with some drug prices (12 of 75) growing by nearly 8 percent. I have been unable to find more current numbers, but I am sure that the increases are higher now than in January 2022. 

And No. 3 was the lack of information on services available. Seniors just don’t know what is available for them and they don’t know how to go about finding out.  

According to Mark Butler, Georgia’s Labor Commission, what isn’t on the senior’s or anyone’s radar of concern, but should be, is the caregiver shortage.  Butler stated recently “Today it is a baby formula shortage, next year it will be a caregiver shortage.” A Labor Department report revealed only 9 percent of caregivers who left the workforce during COVID have since returned.  

We do indeed have a lot to be concerned about.  I wish I had an answer for inflation. I don’t.  But I do have some suggestions for the other concerns.  

There are a few things you can do to reduce your medication costs.  

• Ask your doctor if a generic drug could replace the brand name you are presently using.

• Most health conditions can be treated by a number of different drugs.  Ask your doctor or pharmacist, if there is a similar drug that costs less.

• Switch to a mail-order pharmacy.  They very often will save you money. Even if it is just in the cost of gas to pick up your prescription.

• Look into a better Medicare drug plan.  

• Check to see if your drug company offers help to pay for medications.  

• For lower income seniors, Social Security has a program called “Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Costs” you should ask about.  

And if you need help finding out about services available to you, the Three Rivers Area Agency on Aging is your one-stop shop. Three Rivers can help you with elder legal assistance, wellness and nutrition, personal care, homemaker support, grandparents raising grandchildren, long-term care and community transition options, senior employment job training, case management, assistance technology, and so much more.  The number for Three Rivers is 770-854-6026.

Finally, what to do about our caregiving shortage?   Maybe you can be part of the solution.  I had dinner with a friend the other night who has retired twice in the last 5 years and just went back to work again.  He just likes to work.  Many people believe that our answer to the caregiver shortage can be found in the retired workforce. People who just like to work.  Caregiver skills are easily taught if someone has compassion and enjoys people. The skills part is easy to achieve.  If you are a senior and interested in finding out more about being a caregiver, you can email: [email protected] or call 678-876-5118.

We definitely have a lot to be concerned about.  We can’t fix everything, but by making a few phone calls, we might move toward reducing some of our concerns.

Beth Dow is a Dementia and Alzheimer’s Educator, CAEd and Geriatric Care Manager. Readers can contact her at [email protected].

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