AARP Eye Center
AARP Ohio 2022 Deciding Voices Listening Tour
It's no secret that 50-plus voters will decide this election, but many feel candidates are out of touch with their concerns and challenges.
That's why AARP Ohio decided to take to the road to reach the most powerful voting bloc in the state. We visited five communities across the state, and invited even more Ohioans to share their thoughts online. We heard from thousands of people telling us about their day-to-day lives—often sharing the stress they feel about the future and what they need to thrive in Ohio.
Retirement security is a source of concern for the majority
Only 12% feel strongly in their confidence they have saved enough to last throughout their retirement
Social Security protection is essential to 89% of Ohio’s 50-plus
Retirees and those approaching retirement age are vulnerable to the numerous external conditions that are uncertain and uncontrollable. Whether solely dependent upon Social Security or the growth in assets, any major catastrophic event can potentially be devastating.
“Social Security funding is money we all contributed. I think there's a lot of frustration in that planning was done in such a way that income was part of our retirement plan. What disturbs me is the sense that people feel it's an entitlement. That's not the case. It's a benefit that was paid for by our employers and by ourselves. Nothing is being given. I don't feel that when I have a Social Security check. I consider that as money that I have put back for myself.”
Decisions to delay or ignore health care due to cost are common
More than one in three chose to forego or delay some form of health care services, including vision, dental, medical or mental health care, or not filling their medications, cutting pills in half or skipping doses in the last year due to costs.
“I was supposed to do my colonoscopy. The past three years I didn’t do it.
I didn’t know how I was going to pay for it.”
“I remember when I first went on Medicare, I went and got my scheduled shot. They told me it was going to be $277. I was like, 'What?' Shouldn't my insurance cover that? They go, we don't know, you have to call them. And I called them, they said, you haven't met your deductible yet. It's like, 'What?' Taking care of your health is disincentivized."
More than two-thirds shared housing costs pose significant concerns for homeowners and renters alike, making it difficult to manage other expenses. Nearly 70% indicated they had trouble with housing expenses, of those, more than a third (35%) specified the cost of home repairs was their specific concern, while difficulty paying property taxes (16%) and rent (11%) also were common.
“I’m renting right now. The landlord increased the rent because of a temporary increase in my Social Security benefits. My rent has remained raised while my Social Security benefits have reverted to the original benefit amount.”
“It seems like every year property taxes go up more. In Cobb County, Georgia, if you're 65 years old or over, you do not pay school taxes on your real estate taxes. That should be a national thing.”
“I can see why people would leave Ohio. They go to Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and places like that. It's because they are not having to pay those taxes.”
Ohioans would prefer to be cared for at home, where it is often less expensive and offers better quality of life than care provided by long-term care facilities. They want to see improvements in the state to support that goal and the millions of Ohioans providing unpaid care for their loved ones.
87% want to stay in their own homes as they grow older and 83% want to be able to get independently where they need to go. Improvements to Ohio’s long-term care services (74%) and having flexibility in your schedule to care for a loved one (69%) rank high as issues of importance, along with a high desire of 81% of Ohioans 50-plus to be able to provide care to a family member.
“We all eventually will either need caregiving or we will be doing it. It’s a big burden.”
“I sometimes have to sacrifice my own personal income because I get paid on an hourly basis and might have to travel three, four hours north to take care of my father.”
“I think my caregiving has improved my mother’s quality of life rather than being in a nursing home.”
“I was a caregiver for various family members. It really took a toll on me because part of that time I was working and trying to run two or three houses and provide services and take care of my children.”
Deciding Voices Results One-Pager
YouTube Video: AARP Ohio 2022 Deciding Voices Listening Tour
Deciding Voices Listening Tour Summary Report, AARP, September 2022
Vital Voices Survey: Issues That Impact Ohio Adults Age 45 and Older, AARP, August 2021 www.aarp.org/vitalvoices