BLOOMSBURG — According to the 2010 census, Pennsylvania has among the highest population of senior citizens in the country, but according to a recently published report by the American Association of Retired Persons, the Keystone State is not the best place to grow old.
That report by the AARP ranks Pennsylvania 46th in the nation in terms of affordability for senior citizens.
Read the full AARP Pennsylvania Fact Sheet.
When Newswatch 16 spoke to seniors in Bloomsburg and Berwick about these statistics, their opinions on the report and Pennsylvania were split down the middle.
The report is called, “Raising Expectations 2014″ and it ranks Pennsylvania 42nd on long-term services for senior citizens. It ranks the state 46th in terms of access to long-term care and affordability.
Some of the seniors at the Bloomsburg YMCA disagree with the report.
“As far as Pennsylvania goes, they don’t tax social security, they don’t tax pensions, which is good for the seniors,” said Larry Bechtel of Bloomsburg.
Fred Ainsworth of Bloomsburg moved to Pennsylvania about 10 years ago because he says the cost of living is cheaper.
“To stay in New Jersey and pay the expensive taxes and the cost of living, it was cheaper for us to come out here to Bloomsburg.”
Other seniors who Newswatch 16 spoke with agree with the report and say Pennsylvania’s cost of living is way too high.
“Food is terribly priced. People are getting…they can’t do it. Money’s getting tight and jobs aren’t good,” said Nancy Demarco of Berwick.
Dorothy Long is 93 and has lived in Berwick her whole life.
“I think things here are too high,” she said.
Long says the only reason she can afford to live here is because of her family. A few years ago she needed assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was told she was number 200 on the list.
“But about a month ago, i did get a call from them and got a little bit of help. A little.”
A spokesperson for the state Department of Aging says Pennsylvania is in the process of launching initiatives which are aimed at improving long-term services to senior citizens.