Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Many Seniors Skip Essentials To Stay Warm.

Byline: Rosalie Rayburn Journal Staff Writer

Elderly are among those hardest hit by rising utility costs, and some must skimp on food and medicine

It isn't easy for 74-year-old Ana Cordova to manage on $532 a month.

So when her utility bill jumped from $54 last November to $118 this November, she didn't know how she was going to pay.

"I cut back as much as I can, I haven't bought any clothes in five years," said Cordova.

With the price of natural gas skyrocketing from $2.50 per million BTUs last winter to nearly $10 this winter, just about everyone has been socked with high heating bills.

But the high bills are a double whammy for seniors on a fixed income, many already struggling with higher health costs.

"Lack of heating can be life-threatening for seniors," said Sandy Giles, manager of the Care Coordination Program for the Department of Senior Affairs.

Local agencies and charities that help with utility costs report double the number of calls for assistance this year.

"Last year we had 30 to 40 calls a day, this year its jumped to 50 to 70 a day," said Georgia Chavez, president of the Albuquerque area council of the St. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.