If you’ve been to the supermarket or the gas station lately, then the government’s claim that inflation is hovering around 2 percent makes no sense to you. In fact, you are right not to believe that figure, because it doesn’t include two of the items that have increased most dramatically over the past few years — food and fuel.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is anticipating a rise in the cost of food between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent this year, according to reports, and costs were up significantly last year as well. CNBC recently published a story that Americans are now spending more than 12 percent of their after-tax income on food and fuel. For someone whose monthly income on Social Security is $900, that’s about $108 per month. Such a person will see approximately $15 more per month in his or her account as the result of the anticipated cost of living increase for Social Security recipients in 2013 with which to address any increases in expenses.
If you consider the impact that rising food and fuel prices have on seniors with fixed incomes, some of whom may rely solely on Social Security, it’s easy to see how such a cost of living increase, which is tied to the inflation rate, could still fall short of keeping pace with actual costs.
In some cases, even now, frail elders and disabled adults have to go without needed supplies or simple comforts that most of us still take for granted. SeniorCare personnel, who often have intimate contact with the most frail, and neediest, seniors, spend much time attempting to address such needs in households all over Cape Ann and the North Shore each day. In many cases, the interventions they provide are funded, in whole, or in part, by state or federal funds, but very often, they are not, or funding sources fall short of meeting the needs completely. Thus, fundraising efforts are constantly being undertaken to make up the shortfall, as happens in many non-profit or charitable enterprises. One such fundraising event, the sole purpose of which is to benefit local seniors and disabled adults, has been a Cape Ann tradition for several decades.