Report finds older Iowans nowhere near economic security - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Report finds older Iowans nowhere near economic security

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A new report by Wider Opportunities for Women finds that many seniors in Iowa are nowhere near economic security.  Rising food, fuel, and medical costs are quickly emptying their nest eggs.  But there are programs that can help older and disabled Iowans better manage their money.

"Quite honestly, how could you live on $700 a month yourself?  We expect our seniors to still pay their rent, still be able to have food in their stomach," said Kate Case, Iowa AARP money management director and interim money management director at the Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging.

What's more troubling—the Wider Opportunities for Women study finds that on average, seniors in Iowa need at least $1700 a month to handle their expenses from bills to pills.

82-year-old Audrey Adamson of Cedar Falls knows just how hard it is to survive on a limited budget.

"The savings are shot.  They're gone.  And if you have any health problems, that just compounds your problems.  If you have car expense or any appliances that need fixed or replaced, that's just another added burden," Adamson said.

That's why Adamson is actively looking for full-time work, as she continues to see her expenses climbing.

"Every bit helps," said Adamson.

She's getting help finding a job through AARP's work search program.  It, along with the money management program, coordinated locally through Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging, can help seniors stay financially stable.

"Help with budgeting, reconciling bank statements, or we can even be appointed by Social Security Administration to be the representative payee where we'd actually take over the bill paying process," said Case.

And seniors are encouraged to apply for the money management program before it's too late, when home foreclosure looms and the bank account is empty.  With a little help, most seniors in the program can get back on their financial feet. 

Most seniors can qualify for the free money management program if they make less than $35,000 a year.  To apply, or learn about other services that can help, you're encouraged to call the Aging & Disability Resource Center toll free at (877) 538-0508. 

Volunteers are also needed for the program, which to date has served 173 people.

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