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San Diego Seniors Struggling to Make Ends Meet

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Aired 4/20/09

A UCLA research center says more than one hundred thousand elderly folks in San Diego county struggle to make ends meet, yet don't qualify for federal assistance. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

The Elder Index is a poverty index that's designed to determine the needs of older folks who live in California. It says single elderly people need an average of $21,000 a year to get by in our state. A study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research says 107,000 San Diegan live below the Elder Index, yet live above the federal poverty line. Steve Wallace is professor of public health at UCLA. He says older people have to make tough choices.

Wallace: Are they going to pay to the doctor or for transportation, or are they going to pay to have one versus two meals today.

He says the old folks who live alone in California are especially prone to poverty, and more than 70 percent of them are women. Tom Fudge, KPBS News.

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