By Kevin Prindiville During this season of Jack Frost at the window and fires in the hearth, it’s time we sharpen our focus on the seniors who could be, quite literally, left in the cold. The challenges of navigating the winter months as a low-income senior are immense. For 6.3 million older adults in the United States, wintertime stretches the term “fixed income” into a reality of fixed poverty. For increasing numbers of seniors who face the multifaceted vulnerabilities of poverty even during the sunniest of days, the winter can cost more than many can afford.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts the U.S. average expense to heat a home with natural gas this winter to be $642 ($107/mo). For homes using electricity for heat, the average expense rises to $949 ($158/mo). For most low-income seniors, this added expense means a choice of less food or other necessities, or a dangerously cold living space. The aging homeless are particularly vulnerable in winter with a greater susceptibility to hypothermia and frostbite – half of the people who die in the U.S. from hypothermia each year are 65 or older, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Source: More Fitness