Letter: Inflation Lowers Standard of Living: Lakewood Seniors Sacrifice Healthcare and Utilities, But Help Is Available

Seniors are being forced to make some tough decisions. What they can and cannot afford, including food choices, medicines, how much gas, electric and water they can crimp on. Some are having trouble getting enough to eat enough to eat.

Rent is going through the roof.

In one case I’m aware of, she just gave up on $400 a month vital medication. For the blood thinner she needs, Medicare has placed a capon when prescription costs reach a certain amount for the year. Without coverage, affording all her medicine is simply out of reach.

The blood thinner, but the cost of her medications has put her in the Medicare donut hole, a coverage gap that is triggered when prescription costs hit a certain amount for the year. Without coverage, affording all her medicine is way out of reach.

A 67-year-old Lakewood resident who retired last month is spending her time searching for better health coverage, often fielding spam calls offering “low cost “coverage” to cover her diabetes medication which now adds up to $360 for a 90-day supply. The cost of Insulin has skyrocketed even without the burden of rising inflation.

Seniors have difficulty finding sales at supermarkets and grocery stores grocery stores. As far as I know, there are no kosher markets that offer gas incentives. Seniors are using coupons found in The Shopper and other Lakewood publications as much as possible. One medication recently went up to $500 a month.

Wishing to remain anonymous, one senior told me that she used to pay around $900 a month for all her medications, and it is now approaching almost $1,500 a month.

“It’s simply impossible to stop my medicine and letting my diabetes take charge of my life, everything is going up, us seniors are basically ignored.”

Younger residents may have the Mazal  and the ability to take a second job or possibly find a better paying job, most seniors are living on a fixed monthly income, like Social Security that will remain essentially the same as inflation nowhere covers the recent Cost of Living Increase. The monthly Social Security income that covered costs 10 years ago simply does not go as far any longer.

Seniors who can drive, as well as those who can’t talk about the growing cost of gas.

Another senior said she has given up traveling to Brooklyn for Shabbos and Yom Tov family gatherings because she can’t afford the cost of gas to get there. Relatives help, but we are all feeling the pinch.

Relief From the Government Is Not Expected Any Time Soon but Lakewood Has Options:

Lakewood Resource and Referral Center (LRRC) Is Dedicated and Will Help (I am not affiliated with them in any way).


212 Second Street, Suite 204

Lakewood, NJ 08701

Fax: 732-523-0777


Seniors are saying that the country is not being managed right. There are gas reserves we’re not using. The Government is giving everything away outside the country and to illegals. Some are adding that those who are raising prices are using inflation as a ruse to keep their prices higher than necessary.

“Food, water, electric—everything has gone up,” says an 85-year-old Zaidy ,“Whatever COLA you got in Social Security, just doesn’t cut it.”

The recent Cost of Living Adjustment increased the Social Security benefit that seniors receive by 5.9 percent in January. That was the largest increase in 30 years. But that increase was eaten up by inflation combined with the increase in the cost of Medicare Part B health insurance.

As an example, last year’s average Social Security benefit was $1,565, according to the Social Security Administration. A 5.9 percent increase added $92 a month to the average. But at the same time, the Medicare Part B monthly payment was increased from $148.50 a month in 2021 to $170.10 a month in 2022, an increase of $21.60. The average net Social Security income increase of $70.40 a month is just not enough to keep up with increasing costs.

Some senior’s water bill has doubled, and the JCP&L has sent mail warnings of a rate hike.

Some seniors have been forced to change their food consumption; cost of coffee went from $7.99 to $12.99. The cost of snacks and even nuts has climbed out of reach as well.

Many have been bundling up wearing extra sweaters. Some are turning their heat and air conditioning y down so as not having to fill their fuel oil tanks again this year.

Even though there is not a lot of hope for an economic fix, Lakewood has several resources available that all seniors should know about. There are many advocates that can accomplish getting help by just a phone call.

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    • LRRC knows and will work on your behalf with all the available resources for assistance. Please get in touch with them at 732-942-9292. They were able to get me on energy assistance like HEAP, food delivery at no cost from Meals on Wheels and Bikur Cholim, extra help for prescriptions from Medicare and other organizations. Please give them a call at 732-942-9292.

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