Survey: 60% of senior citizens cannot make ends meet.

67% of the total income of the age-group is paid to a small percentage of that demographic.

elderly senior 88.298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
elderly senior 88.298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A recently released survey conducted by the Israel Gerontological Data Center at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem revealed that 61 percent of Israeli citizens aged 50 and above have trouble meeting basic financial needs on a month-to-month basis. Some 2,603 people in 1,774 households were surveyed as part of the study, which was undertaken in part to help shape future policies regarding Israel's older population. The survey points to a high inequality among this age group in income distribution, as 67% of the total income of the age-group is paid to a small percentage of that demographic. In addition, 32% of the people of that age group are considered poor, in comparison to Sweden, where only 17% among the same age group are categorized as poor. "People should reshape their consumption habits once their children leave the house and their expenses shrink. In many cases, people in this age group keep heating their houses as they used to do when the house was fully occupied and they cook and buy food as if their children are still living in the house," Uriel Ledberg, chairman of Pa'amonim, an organization that assists people in overcoming poor economic habits, told The Jerusalem Post. "I recommend doing an inventory, to find out what are the financial resources. Sometimes it's smarter to move to a smaller house that costs less money. In addition, retired people go out more often than they used to before and they spend more money. To them I say, go volunteer, study something - shopping is not entertainment," Ledberg said. Around half of those surveyed reported that they are in good health or a very good health, while 50% responded that they are in less than a good health. According to the report, the lower the income, the higher the use of the public health services. However, noted the report, lower-income citizens are not able to pay for more expensive medical treatments. The study also reveals that health is the main factor taken into consideration when deciding when to retire. Today, most Israelis retire between the ages of 50-64, with an average retirement age of 60.2. This number has gone down in recent years. It is still considerably higher than the average European retirement age of 56.3. Among Israeli men, the average retirement age stands at 62, while women retire, on average, at 55.7. Despite the high number of those surveyed reporting financial difficulties, 80% of them said they are happy with their lives.