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Gas price hike causing issues for seniors on fixed income

It's no secret rising gas prices are causing problems. But senior citizens living on fixed incomes and organizations that help out may be getting hit the hardest.

OREGON, Ohio — It's no secret that rising gas prices are causing problems for everyone. 

Yet there is one group that might be getting hit the hardest: senior citizens living on a fixed income.

Oregon resident and retiree, David Brecht Sr., said he's happy to enjoy the simple pleasures; like watching his favorite program, surrounded by many beautiful memories. 

But, Brecht said, gas prices are keeping him and his wife Emelia from making more memories, because the cost of travel is so expensive. 

So, the compromise is just to stay at home and dream of traveling. 

"What I do, right there, television," Brecht said. "What Emelia does, her little telephone over there. She watches those movies on there, et cetera. But, I know inside, she wants to go."

Even though his wife is still working, with Brecht on a fixed income he said the household is on a budget. Certain bills like health insurance must get paid and sometimes, they can enjoy little pleasures. 

But Brecht said he's worried for seniors who don't have anyone to help share the burden or keep them company. 

"Mental health with these prices. You know, it's just a lot of people, a whole lot of people, that's worse off than we are. We're fortunate," Brecht said. "But, we don't know how long we're going to be fortunate."

He said he worked hard to buy his home and paid off his youngest daughter's college tuition. The bills the Brechts have are small, but on a fixed income, with inflation affecting their daily lives, staying at home is the financially smartest option. 

Across Toledo, Mobile Meals caters to seniors on fixed incomes, many of who live alone. Associate Executive Director Carolyn Fox said gas is costly, but it won't stop them from caring for their clients. The meals will still come. 

"It's really important they get those services within their home. It's a lot cheaper to be in your home, a lot more comfortable, a lot happier than going to assisted living facilities," Fox said. 

Annually, the nonprofit delivers meals to more than 1,900 people, with more than 200 volunteers helping deliver those meals. Fox said no one has complained to administrators about the gas; it's everyone taking the gas hike on the chin.

"Our gas prices are going up. The budget is going to have to reflect that. We're paying a surcharge on certain deliveries now because I know that certain distributors are trying to reap some of their costs for fuel," Fox said. 

Brecht said the fix for gas is simple. But he has no hope that it'll happen, because the entire nation would have to be on board.

"Stop buying gas for one day. That's just the gas situation," Brecht said. "You stop buying gas for one day. You'll have so much gas. They won't be able to get rid of it. Everything will be overflowing and then they gotta lower the price."

If you're looking for transportation assistance, the Area Office on Aging has a search tool that can find the cheapest, fastest or even the best way to get around. Click here to access that page.

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