Senior Hunger and Food Insecurity
Did you know that in 2012 alone, over 2 ½ million households with seniors experienced food insecurity? Over 1 million households with seniors living alone experienced food insecurity. In addition, food insecure seniors were more likely to report poor health and had higher nutritional risk.
Today, over 9 million Americans over 50 are at risk for hunger each day (this is a 79% increase in 10 years!).
Why is this important? Access to enough food and health sustaining food is important for everyone but especially important for the most vulnerable to disease or limited mobility. As we age loneliness, depression, medication interactions, changes in taste senses, dementia, the recent economic recession and shame can directly impact malnutrition and senior hunger.
The Cycle of Malnutrition in Seniors
Malnutrition can lead to a weakened immune system, increasing risk of infection
Poor wound healing
Muscle weakness leading to falls and fractures
Increased disinterest in eating/lack of appetite
What can you do to get involved?
• Volunteer your time or money to local organizations in your community such as Meals On Wheels, Agency on Aging, food banks, senior centers and churches.
• Be aware! Keep tabs on your neighborhood seniors. Check in and make sure they seem healthy, alert and well nourished.
• Seek resources for those you love through your state’s Department of Economic Security food programs.
Check out this AARP foundation video: In an Instant – Drive to End Hunger
AARP Drive to End Hunger
Food Research and Action Center
National Foundation to End Senior Hunger
Meals On Wheels
Mayo Clinic – Recognize signs of malnutrition
United States Department of Agriculture – USDA