Low Income Seniors

In working with seniors for the past 13 years, I have learned a few things.
Many seniors, due to no fault of their own, have incomes based totally on their Old Age Pension, the supplement, Survivors benefits and their Canada Pension, giving them an income of about $1400.00 per month. Some never had a job that resulted in superannuation pension or benefits. Not everyone was lucky enough to have high paying jobs and were never able to afford to buy a house, or lost it due to other debts. Some were involved in small businesses that went under taking all their savings. Some had family members with huge medical bills that bankrupt them. Some had spouses who, when deciding on taking pensions, chose the one giving them the most money initially, being based on their life only. When they passed, their spouse gets nothing! Some are separated due to abandonment or abuse and forced to sign documents giving them nothing, and, being unable to afford good legal advice suffer the consequences.
Pensioners were given the ‘huge’ raise in 2014, only to have it clawed back, leaving them at a net loss. How many working people would tolerate that happening to their salaries?
Most of the seniors I know simply adjust their lifestyle and carry on. Vehicle insurance and maintenance is over $200.00 a month average, so get rid of the car. Without a vehicle, transportation becomes dependent on transit schedules and routes and the weather. Taxi to downtown is $25.00…each way.., so that is out. Dining out is costly, with most meals costing a week’s grocery budget. If they do go out, they must take advantage of seniors discount days. Live theater tickets again cost 2 week’s grocery budget, so no live entertainment. New clothes? That is why we have Thrift stores. Medication? Can’t afford that, or must rely on their children to help. Ambulance bill to the hospital, $85.00. Scrimp for 3 months to pay it. And I don’t hear them complaining, ever. These are the people who worked hard, paid their dues, contributed, made this country what it is today, not for the politicians or the greedy, but for everyone to enjoy. And they still contribute by volunteering, assisting each other and generally just helping out when they can and as they are able.
No one planned to live out their retirement years like this. No one thinks this can happen to them. But it happens. Government cuts to healthcare and other things impact the low income people the most. We need to figure out ways to change/combat/challenge the issues so the rest of us do not end up in like situations, because we could!

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