Public Health Impact of the Great Recession: Seniors and the Housing Crisis

Over the last six months, The Lancet published a series of articles on the effects of the Greek economic crisis and the health of the population.  Until recently,  few studies have been published about the health effects of America's Great  Recession. A Univesity of Maryland study, the first of its kind, found that health status and health access may be eroding for elderly homeowners of deliquent or undervalued properties.

In the U.S. poverty increased in suburbia between 2007 and 2010 in part due to the collapse of financial markets in 2008.  While the epicenter of the financial crisis was financial institutions that had taken on excessive risk,  the housing market felt the aftershocks and will continue to feel the impact of the crisis for years to come.

The University of Maryland study released  earlier this fall documents the impact of the housing crisis on homeowners 50 years old and older. The elderly, those who borrowed against home equity and those who intended to finance retirement via the sale of residential real estate, compose nearly 30% of foreclosures nationwide. 

Excerpt from ScienceNewsline-Medicine

"Among participants who were mortgage delinquent, 22 percent developed elevated depressive symptoms over the two-year period compared to only three percent of non-delinquent respondents. Twenty-eight percent of mortgage-delinquent participants reported food insecurity compared to four percent in the non-delinquent. In addition, the delinquent group reported much higher levels of cost-related medication non-adherence (32 percent compared to five percent)."

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