To the editor:


The cost of food and health care are skyrocketing, families are losing their homes, retirement accounts are shrinking, and millions are without a job.


And to top it off, the most recent labor news from February was bleak. At 5.6 percent, the unemployment rate for persons aged 55 and older was the highest it has been since 1983. Older unemployed persons had been out of work for an average of 23.1 weeks in February with the same group more likely to be among the long-term unemployed.


Many people are looking far and wide for answers to help weather the storm.
In these tough economic times, health care and financial security are proving to be the main drivers of personal financial crises. States are struggling to provide assistance to the millions more children and families who need help affording their health care bills. More than $2 trillion have been lost in pension plans.


Recently, an AARP member approached the organization for guidance shared, “We’ve worked hard to get to this point in our lives and our nest egg is evaporating.”


AARP is diligently responding to these types of cries for help. The organization is responding through Real Relief, www.aarp.org/realrelief, a one-stop online portal that offers information on programs and interactive tools for those struggling to make ends meet, seeking employment or job training, worrying about retirement, trying to cut back on expenses, or working to safeguard investments.


Updated regularly, content on the Real Relief Web site will lead people to a host of tools and resources to help them stay focused on long-term financial goals while providing immediate solutions and assistance. Look for tips on job searching – to free programs for tax preparation – and up-to-date news about the economy. Also, visitors to the site can check state-specific information about receiving public benefits programs that help cover the costs of food, utilities, health care, and medicine.


Encourage friends, family and loved ones who may be financially hurting to seek out help from AARP’s Real Relief, or other available resources on the national or local levels.