Older Americans still worry about expenses

A majority of Americans age 45 and older worry that they won’t be able to pay their health care expenses over the next 12 months, and one in three fears that mortgage or rent payments will become unaffordable, according to an AARP poll released Jan. 7.

Yet, despite the pessimism, fewer people reported that they had difficulty paying certain bills later in 2008 than earlier in the year, according to the survey, which polled adults in December on how the economy affected their financial situation. A similar survey was done in April.

While more than half of older adults (52 percent) polled in December said they had more trouble paying for food, gas and medicine during the previous 12 months, this was down from 66 percent of respondents who said the same in April. Likewise, 44 percent of those polled last month said they found it more difficult to pay for utilities in the last year, compared with 53 percent of those polled in April.

Kathi Brown, an AARP researcher who led the survey, cites lower energy prices in the latter part of 2008, including the price of gas, for loosening up budgets so that people could better afford basic necessities.

The latest AARP poll also captured the angst of today’s workers. Of those polled in December, 16 percent said they lost a job in the previous 12 months, compared with 8 percent in the April poll. But nearly one-third (31 percent) fear losing their job in 2009.

The December survey of 1,097 adults also found that:

• 29 percent said they thought it was likely that their health insurance coverage would be reduced or dropped in the next 12 months;

• 59 percent said they were confident they’d have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, down from 68 percent in April;

• 57 percent of those who were employed or looking for work and who lost money in their investments over the past year said they expected to delay retirement and work longer;

• 36 percent of workers surveyed said they’d stopped putting money into their retirement accounts in the past 12 months.

Special events

Travels of Kellie Martindale (4-H Youth Exchange). International youth exchange programs enhance the 4-H program through international, cross-cultural experiences that enable young people to improve their leadership and communication skills, while increasing their international awareness and understanding. Kellie has traveled to Greece and Austria and would like to share her experiences with you through a presentation of slides and the knowledge she has learned from other cultures. Join us on Monday, Feb. 9 at 12:30 p.m.

Floured Apron Breakfast. Breakfast anyone? There’s a menu of cream cheese French toast, quiche and eggs with sausage. Come enjoy this home style cooking on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $3 per person and limit of 10 so sign up early at The Den. Last day to sign up is Friday, Feb. 6.

Weekly activities

Friday, Feb. 6 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 9 — Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Kellie Martin (4-H) presentation, 12:30 p.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.; National Wear Red Day.

Tuesday, Feb. 10 — Chair massage, 10-11:45 a.m.; blood pressure check, 11 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Tuesdays topic, 12:45 p.m.; Meditation for healing, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 11 — Dance for health, 10 a.m.

Thursday, Feb. 12 — Floured Apron breakfast (ASI members), 8:30 a.m.

Friday, Feb. 13 — Geezers, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; ASI Board meeting, 1 p.m.

Den closures

The Silver Foxes Den follows the school district snow closures. To find out if The Den is closed tune into KWUF 106.3 FM or 1400 AM for information.

Medical expense assistance

 The Silver Foxes Den, in cooperation with Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI) may be able to help with excess medical expenses.  Items covered might be prescription copays, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and dental care.  Qualifying amounts are based on income and need. Recipients must be current members of ASI.  Dues are $5 per year. For more information about how we might help you or your family, contact Musetta at 264-2167.

Meals on Wheels

Archuleta County Senior Services is offering frozen meals for once-a-week delivery to reach those who are rurally isolated and unable to participate in our regular route of the Meals on Wheels program. The suggested donation for these meals is $3 each. To find out if you qualify for this program or for more information, call 264-2167.

Increase in prices

Beginning Jan. 1, there was an increase in our medical shuttle and non-senior meal charge. The price will now be $35 for shuttle services. If you are an Archuleta Seniors Inc. member the charge is $10. Our non-senior meals will increase to $6.

Menu

Suggested donation for older adults age 60-plus is $3, kids 12 and under and guests $6. Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, Archuleta County, Town of Pagosa Springs and other contributions and grants. These funds help support the cost of the meal, which is approximately $9.75. Please note our menu is subject to change. The salad bar opens at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at noon.

Friday, Feb. 6 — Honey BBQ chicken, oven browned potatoes, spinach, fruit, bread.

Monday, Feb. 9 — White chili with chicken, whole wheat crackers, broccoli, apple, bread.

Tuesday, Feb. 10 — Stuffed peppers, corn, oriental veggies, spinach, applesauce with raisins, whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Feb. 11 — Combination burrito, cabbage and red pepper, banana, fortune cookie.

Thursday, Feb. 12 — Administrative day.

Friday, Feb. 13 — Baked ham, potatoes, green beans, cranberry mold, bread, cookies.

Please note: Archuleta County Cultural Center Newsletter is available on Archuleta County’s Web site: www.archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniors.asp.