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Voices: Real stories

If you are a very poor senior

I had a job where I could work around taking care of my husband. Then my company downsized and 600 of us who did public relations were gone with six days’ notice and no compensation. 

We just make do. We cash in a lot of bottles and cans to make ends meet and there’s no budget for clothing or entertainment. We wear out holey shoes. My husband made me admit I was cheap when I was taping a free plastic bag with free tape. 

We finally did qualify for food stamps—we get $85 a month to feed two people—but we have to supplement with free dinners at the meal site. We meet a lot of people and it keeps us from getting depressed.

It’s important that you don’t get depressed, particularly if you’re a very poor senior. We’re not just lumps. You have to be busy. I have a green thumb and if I get within an inch of something I can grow roots on it. Busy hands make a happy heart.
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