Survey: Pa. seniors forced to choose between meals and medicine

Credit: Getty Images
Thousands of adults reported either skipping a meal or leaving a prescription unfilled last year. Credit: Getty Images

Pennsylvania’s senior citizens often face tough choices when it comes to paying for their meals and medications, according to figures released Tuesday in the annual Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey, conducted by nonprofit Public Health Management Corporation’s Center for Data Innovation.

The data, which was released in advance of National Senior Citizens Day on Aug. 21, found thousands of older adults in the region last year either skipped a meal or left a prescription unfilled due to budgetary constraints, underscoring the difficult decisions older adults are often forced to make when balancing basic needs.

PHMC officials in a release noted poor nutrition among older adults can aggravate existing medical conditions and disabilities, decrease immune system function and lead to the increased need for yet more medical attention, resulting in a vicious cycle in which those who forego food for prescriptions can actually end up facing even higher health care costs.

Similarly, failing to take medications as prescribed, especially when a patient has a chronic health condition, can increase the risk for negative and potentially lethal health consequences.

Advocates pointed to several barriers to medication adherence among the elderly, among them a lack of education about available benefits to help with food costs, prescription insurance coverage, Social Security income, affordable housing and personal financial skills.

Survey results

10,000 households in Southeastern Pennsylvania were surveyed by the PHMC.

112,500 older adults reported either skipping a meal or leaving a prescription unfilled last year due to budgetary constraints.

20,900 adults reported both cutting a meal and not filling a prescription due to budget limitations.

66.8% of older adults who reported both cutting a meal and not filling a prescription have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

49.9% of older adults who reported both cutting a meal and not filling a prescription have been diagnosed with diabetes.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Humans should thank ancient Scottish fish fossils for…

By Kate KellandLONDON (Reuters) - Scientists studying fossils have discovered that the intimate act of sexual intercourse used by humans was pioneered by ancient armored…

National

Comet makes rare close pass by Mars as…

By Irene KlotzNEW YORK (Reuters) - A comet from the outer reaches of the solar system on Sunday made a rare, close pass by Mars…

Local

NYPD: Man found hanging in Brooklyn subway station

A man was found hanging inside a Brooklyn subway station on Saturday morning, police said. The man, who still had not been identified on Sunday,…

Local

Only church destroyed in 9/11 set to rebuild

St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the only house of worship destroyed during the terrorist attacks on 9/11, held a groundbreaking ceremony Saturday to start the…

Going Out

Watch home cooks try to impress Tom Colicchio…

Is what you’re making for dinner tonight good enough to serve “Top Chef” judge Tom Colicchio? That’s the standard that some of the city’s best…

Television

‘Homeland’ recap: Season 4, Episode 4 ‘Iron in…

Carrie Mathison, what are you doing?! Don’t seduce virgins! More on that later: Lots of crazy stuff went down on the "Iron in the Fire" ep of "Homeland"!

Movies

Box office: Brad Pitt kills Nazis, also Nicholas…

This weekend, Brad Pitt's second WWII movie, "Fury," rolled into the lead, while the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, "The Best of Me," got little love.

Gossip

Blake Lively's pregnancy cravings are too weird to…

Find out what Blake Lively is rumored to send husband Ryan Reynolds to the store for.

College

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State…

College football AP Top 25 rankings: Mississippi State holds off FSU

NHL

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in…

NHL Power Rankings: Sharks, Canadiens, Blackhawks out in front

NFL

DeMarco Murray carries Cowboys to win over Giants

The Giants knew they would need to stop DeMarco Murray if they were going to leave Dallas with a win. It didn't matter.

NFL

Jets trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin: Report

According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have sent a conditional draft pick to the Seahawks for wide receiver Percy Harvin.

Wellbeing

Gabby Bernstein: The 3 questions I always get

For the last decade, I’ve been writing self-help books and preaching the Gospel of Gabby to audiences throughout the world. And no matter what country…

Wellbeing

Health News: 5K for lung cancer, free yoga,…

Get some fresh air to benefit lung cancer research On Friday, the first-ever Brooklyn Free to Breathe Run/Walk will take place Oct. 26 at Cadman Plaza…

Education

Can these two college students come up with…

Two Atlanta college students say they have an idea for a simple test that would quickly diagnosis the Ebola virus - and it all started…

Education

Chances are, the average college student isn't taking…

As a bachelor’s degree becomes more expensive than ever, one new report is criticizing colleges for the content of those pricey educations. The American Council…

Comments

1

  1. Thank you for highlighting this critical health issue, which affects not only Pennsylvania’s seniors, but also Americans across the country. Seniors, especially those on a fixed incomes, should not be forced to choose between buying groceries or filling their prescriptions.

    Medication nonadherence is a serious issue. Fifty million Americans (age 19-64) didn’t fill a prescription in 2012 due to cost. This number is up 2 million from the previous year. And this number would clearly be much higher if adults 65+ had been included in the study!

    Fortunately, there is an affordable alternative to the exorbitant cost of medicine in the U.S.: prescription drug importation. More than a million Americans each year depend on legitimate Canadian and other international pharmacies to access their needed medications at prices they can afford. Without this option, they would end up skipping doses, splitting pills and compounding their health problems.
     
    RxRights is a national coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to promoting and protecting American consumer access to sources of safe, affordable prescription drugs. For more information, visit http://www.RxRights.org.