Key Takeaways

  • Patricia, a 65-year-old retired mother, was living independently on her modest fixed income when she received a dreaded diagnosis: Cancer.

  • That was the bad news. The even worse news? Her chemotherapy prescription carried a monthly out-of-pocket cost of $17,000.

  • Faced with this shocking price tag and no way to afford it, Patricia had little choice but to move in with her daughter who lived out of state. 

What would you do if you woke up tomorrow with a cancer diagnosis—and couldn’t afford the prescription drugs you needed for chemotherapy? What if choosing between buying groceries and paying for health care were no choice at all? For millions of older adults in America right now, situations like these aren’t hypothetical. They’re a heartbreaking daily reality with no easy solution.

Today, as we move into the holidays and think about the spirit of the season, including gratitude, giving to others who might need it more than ourselves, we’d like to introduce you to 65-year-old Patricia*. 

When Patricia learned that her monthly cancer drugs would cost $17,000, she had no choice but to move to another state to live with her daughter. It was a mutual sacrifice made of love—yet it still wasn’t enough. Although she no longer had to worry about housing costs, Patricia’s modest fixed income meant that the treatment she desperately needed remained out of reach.

That’s when Patricia turned to the Western Montana Area VI Agency on Aging for assistance. There, staff used NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp to connect her with vital Medicare and food assistance programs that have since reduced her financial burden to just over $2,000—for the rest of the year!

How your gift to NCOA helps older adults

Nutritious meals are key to maintaining good health as we age. Food prices continue to rise and can be difficult for many older adults to afford. Yet, more than half of those who are eligible are missing out on programs that can help.  

Why donate to the National Council on Aging

For 70 years, we’ve changed the world for many people. We were the first national voice for older adults. We helped end mandatory retirement. We advocated to secure Medicare, Medicaid, and the Older Americans Act. Local organizations turned to us for support as they served older adults every day. And we built tools that empower people to age with dignity and independence.

Your donation to NCOA helps us deliver the resources, digital tools, best practices, and advocacy our nation needs to ensure that every person can age with health and financial security.  

NCOA is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, and donations are tax-deductible.

We are a top-rated charity by BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Candid, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch.