Life after 65 a shock to low-income senior
The NDP Critic for Seniors, Wellness and Social Development brought the plight of one of her constituents to the House of Assembly today. St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers says “John” is a senior citizen who worked at minimum wage jobs all his life, and whose pared-down monthly expenses exceed his income by several hundred dollars. He is on a waiting list for a rent supplement, cannot afford both medicine and food, and is isolated even more because he is waiting for a hearing aid.
Rogers hears regularly from seniors facing a range of challenges who feel government is not in touch with their basic needs.
“John is a senior who has a work place injury and can’t work anymore. After 23 years living in the same apartment he now needs help. His very basic expenses are $300 more than he earns. He’s asked NL Housing for a rent sup, now he’s on a wait list with no idea when he might get help. He is on the verge of becoming homeless. He said he had no idea how difficult life would be when he turned 65,” Rogers said in the House of Assembly today.
“I ask the Minister what is he going to do for John and people like him?”
The MHA points out that her constituent is in desperate need of a hearing aid. Seven months ago the Department of Health said he’d get one “soon,” she said.
Rogers says she hears often from people who have been waiting up to a year for hearing aids. Without the assistive devices, she says, many elements of everyday life – from grocery shopping to watching TV – become impossible.