Food Insecurity and Seniors
No one should have to choose between buying food, paying rent, buying medications, or visiting a doctor. But at-risk older adults have to make tough decisions about how to survive with limited financial resources, and unfortunately many compensate by going without adequate nutritious food. Research reveals just how big a problem food insecurity—the inability to regularly purchase or acquire enough nutritious food to be healthy—is for seniors.
One recent study shows that 15.5% of all seniors face the threat of hunger. While seniors below the poverty line are more likely to face hunger (around 50% do), food insecurity is still a serious problem for many who are above the poverty line. Almost 30% of older adults who have incomes up to twice the poverty level still face the threat of hunger. This reality shows just how serious the problem is for seniors struggling to balance the necessities of life.
Food insecurity is particularly challenging for the youngest segment of older adults, those in the 50–64 age group, according to another recent study. Seniors in this bracket often cannot afford to retire, have difficulty succeeding in the job market, and are not yet eligible for many federal benefits available to older seniors. At least 8 million Americans are in this category.
Health problems go hand-in-hand with increased food insecurity. For seniors, studies show a higher risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and the risk of heart attack, among other things. The interplay of food insecurity and poor health can create a vicious circle for seniors who simply can’t pay their medical bills, buy enough healthy food, and still keep up with their other expenses.
Claretian Initiative programs work to help meet the needs of at-risk seniors. The Bread of Life Food Pantry in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, helps seniors supplement their nutrition with emergency supplies and can also help them connect with other resources. Villa Guadalupe Senior Housing in South Chicago provides quality, affordable housing for seniors that meets their unique needs and ensures that they don’t have to scrimp on food to pay the rent.
No senior should have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Consider making a donation to Villa Guadalupe or Bread of Life Food Pantry to help make sure that no one does. As always, 95% of your gift will go directly to the program!
Learn more about the tCI programs making a difference in lives of food-insecure seniors: