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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Food Prices Weigh on Seniors’ Savings, Health and Even Social Ties - The New York Times

Food Prices Weigh on Seniors’ Savings, Health and Even Social Ties

"As costs rise, many older Americans have changed the way they shop and eat out. For some, it could affect their health or leave them feeling isolated.

A white-haired woman peers into her kitchen refrigerator while a cat stands nearby.
Marilynn Miller, 89, is among many older Americans who have changed how they eat because of food prices.Taylor Glascock for The New York Times

For the better part of the past year, Marilynn Miller stretched her food budget.

With a monthly Social Security check as her only income, Ms. Miller, 89, shops for her groceries at Walmart. Occasional dinners out with friends have become too expensive. She no longer buys any prepared meals because of the cost, and eats cheese and beans instead of meat.

“I’ve probably eliminated 90 percent of buying any meat because it’s so expensive,” said Ms. Miller, who lives in a senior community in Crest Hill, Ill., about 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

All across the country, rising prices at grocery stores and restaurants have altered how many Americans — including a good number older than 65 — shop and eat out. While food prices are expected to moderate a bit this year, many people will still feel squeezed. After climbing nearly 10 percent last year, food prices are expected to rise another 7 percent in 2023, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The cost of dairy, cereals and baked goods continues to rise. Eggs, once a low-cost meal staple, jumped to a national average of $4.25 a dozen in December from $1.78 a year earlier, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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Combined with higher transportation and housing prices, the rising cost of food is being felt disproportionately by lower-income households, meaning those with $50,000 or less in annual income, according to a study released in January by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. And in 2021, about six million Americans over 65 — more than 10 percent of their population — were living below the poverty line, according to data from the Census Bureau. And while Social Security benefits increased by 8.7 percent this year, their biggest inflation adjustment in decades, it is still not enough for many retirees.

As prices climb, experts worry that older individuals who are in poor physical or mental health or who have lower incomes are at greater risk for not having enough food or for eating less healthy foods. The squeeze also has the potential to isolate them socially, if they back away from activities like eating out with friends.

“This is a group that has diabetes, heart disease and cancer risk,” said Dr. Preeti Malani, a professor of medicine at the University of Michigan and a member of the National Poll on Healthy Aging research team. “For them, food is part of their health and right now, money has become a big barrier to eating healthy for a lot of people.”

While many have only slightly moderated their grocery shopping and eating out habits thanks to significant savings, or income from pensions or other retirement accounts, a number of retirees across the country say the prices have altered their behavior.

Some are clipping coupons and planning menus for the week in order to buy only what is on sale and what they are sure they will need. (This can be a positive, since many say they now throw less food away.) Some now shop at Walmart, Dollar Tree and other discount stores. Some say they buy less meat and “treats,” like soda, ice cream or alcohol.

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Some are going to food banks for the first time.

“I reached my breaking point, and I had to go to the food bank,” said Linda Nygaard, 72, who lives on Vashon Island in Washington State. She said she relied mostly on Social Security for her income

Like others, Ms. Nygaard, a self-described “foodie,” said she had switched from more-expensive grocery stores to places like Trader Joe’s or Grocery Outlet. She occasionally goes to a food bank to pick up onions, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables, as well as dairy items.

“I debate over the prices now,” Ms. Nygaard said. “Should I get it or not? And then I find myself thinking I don’t need it. I shop for two to three days at a time, and then I eat the leftovers so nothing goes bad in the refrigerator. The soggy lettuce problem everybody has in their refrigerator? I find a way to use it now, so the upside is there’s less food waste.”

An older woman ladles chicken soup from a pot into a bowl while standing in her kitchen.
“We now cook a chicken and that becomes chicken salad and chicken soup,” Sharon Cohen, 73, said.Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Another way Ms. Nygaard avoids food waste is that she and others share the pies and soups they make with others in her senior community. “I have a terrible sweet tooth, and I love to bake, but I can’t eat an entire pie by myself,” she said. “So I take slices of the pie to others in the building so we all can enjoy it.”

While some seniors say they are nervous about making ends meet, they are even more frightened about cutting themselves off from others.

“The lack of access to food can make older Americans more socially isolated,” said Colleen Heflin, a professor of public administration and international affairs at Syracuse University who is co-writing a book on food insecurity and older Americans. “For some, it can mean the end of Sunday dinners at their house because they can no longer afford to feed their families.

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“Food, for many older adults, is a way to bring family to you, and if you cannot afford it, you’re either not going to do it or you’re going to have less food for yourself later in the week because you value that interaction so highly.”

Some who had avoided restaurants and crowds for much of the pandemic were eager to step out with friends for dinners, but those nights out became expensive.

“I started going out for lunches once or twice a week, but then the lunches turned into $20, and that’s a lot of money,” said Sharon Cohen, 73, who owned a communications business for decades. Instead, Ms. Cohen and her friends now go on walks, or have friends over for book club gatherings. Occasionally, she meets people at a local hub for an egg and bagel sandwich.

“As you get older, and especially after Covid,” she said, “it becomes really important to get out and be with people, even if it’s for a walk or a coffee.”

While Ms. Cohen and her husband, Jean-Henry Mathurin, 80, have retirement savings plans from their employers, they are trying to save that money in case one or both of them need to stay at a health care facility at some point. In the meantime, they’re trying to pay their bills, including repairs and upkeep on their 300-year-old home in Newtown, Conn.

To stretch their Social Security checks, Ms. Cohen and her husband have looked for ways to cut costs. They have turned down the heat and reduced their phone bills. She buys less beef and purchases her favorite Late July chips only when they are on sale. And even though Ms. Cohen loves scallops, she eschews them for less expensive seafood like flounder and cod fillets.

“And we’ve probably eaten more tuna fish in the past year than we ever have,” she said, laughing.

But after two bouts with cancer in the past five years, Ms. Cohen said she was also conscious about eating healthy.

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“I realized that I can’t just cut back on everything,” she said. “So we are now buying in smaller quantities and trying to stretch the foods we make over several days. We now cook a chicken and that becomes chicken salad and chicken soup.

“We can do a lot with one chicken.”

Food Prices Weigh on Seniors’ Savings, Health and Even Social Ties - The New York Times

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