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  • Writer's picturePete Garfinkel

Medicine Or Food: Tough Questions Facing Rural Elderly

Updated: Nov 28, 2018

Medicine or Food?

When I was a social worker, I used to make home visits to clients receiving home health care and hospice services.

Many of these folks lived in very rural areas.

Most people were elderly and many were trying to get by on a tight fixed budget.

For some, these fixed budgets weren’t adequate to allow for the additional expenses associated with their illnesses.

This led to very hard choices on how to spend the little money they had.

Common problems

Common issues I saw were:

  • a lack of transportation

  • to see the doctor and to pick up prescriptions,

  • staying current on phone and utility bills,

  • paying for prescriptions and

  • buying groceries.

At times, it seemed like my clients’ adult children were not even fully aware of hard choices their parents endured in their stoic silence.

Our song, “Medicine or Food” shares the story of too many Americans who worked hard, payed their taxes, and played by the rules only to find themselves caught in a financial bind later in life.


If you would like to read more on the subject of “food insecurity” here are a few links:

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