Number of seniors growing rapidly along with need for services

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Updated: 2/22/2013 7:21 am
RENO, Nev. (Mynews4.com & KRNV)-- Vickie DeVines is 68-years-old. Since she retired her life has been turned upside down and right side up at one point she even battled homelessness.

"You feel hopeless and desperate and depressed then you take a deep breath and you say well there's some tea left in my cup," DeVines says.

DeVines worked her whole life. She says was in and out of various jobs, but none the less always worked and primarily as an administrative assistant.

"Most of us who utilize the services for seniors have lead normal lives, earned a living, and hoped to continue in our retirement," DeVines says.

She says it all started with the loss of loved ones, then struggling to stay afloat financially. She says she gets her social security check on the third Wednesday of every month. Which can be difficult since most rental properties want rent by the first of the month.

DeVines says before you know it it you're behind and you feel you have no where to go. Washoe County Director of Senior Services Grady Tarbutton says she's not alone.

"My biggest concern is the people that live alone in their own homes they don't have much family support they don't have much income and I'm concerned about their well being, their quality of life," Tarbutton says.

According to Tarbutton typically when people retire their income drops about 50% and then if their spouse dies it drops again.

Washoe County Senior Services serves about 6,000 people a year and Tarbutton says the majority of those seniors are low income. The national average social security income is $14,400 annually and for 60% of seniors that's their primary income.

"It's designed to keep people out of poverty it's not designed to have them necessarily be able to manage their lifestyle and many of them don't," Tarbutton says.

For Senior Services they say they're going one year at a time. They provide 900 meals a day for seniors and the senior population is only growing.

According to Tarbutton, in 2000 there were 40,000 seniors in Washoe County, there are about 76,000 today and they predict there will be 100,000 by 2020.

DeVines asks other seniors to keep their chins up and fight for the services they deserve.

"You have to look at yourself and be proactive and look at yourself and say what can I do?" DeVines says.

To contact Washoe County Senior Services call 775-328-2575 or the address is 1155 E. Ninth St. Reno, NV 89512.

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