More Seniors Going Hungry – How You Can Help
Ever wonder what meal time looks like for the typical senior? If you're already in your senior years, you know the answer. But if you're wondering what grandma and grandpa are having for dinner, you might be surprised.
More seniors are going hungry. In a recent report, public health experts found that more than 10 million older adults experience hunger at some point every year. And lack of money to buy food isn't always the issue. Sometimes it's a matter of access, lack of knowledge, or a combination of the two.
Academy of Nutrition spokesperson Angel Planells said that when older adults are living on a fixed income, they're more likely to make decisions to stretch their budget. And that often means buying inexpensive snack foods for meals. Unfortunately, those cheap snack foods are typically low in nutritional quality and can lead to bigger problems like:
- Loss of muscle mass
- Decrease in bone density
- Weakened immune system
- Impairments to memory and thinking
- Increased risk for chronic disease
If hunger is an issue for you, your aging parents, or a senior you know, here are some things you can do:
- Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to see if you qualify for financial assistance to help buy food.
- Connect with a Meals on Wheels program in your area to get meals delivered to your door.
- Check with your state or local offices to find if your community has a Senior Farmer's Market Nutrition Program
- Contact Feeding America to find out about food delivery services and free or low-cost food pantries in your area.
If you're concerned about a senior in your life and their diet:
- Talk to them about their eating habits.
- Take them grocery shopping.
- Invite them over for a meal, and send them home with leftovers.
- Volunteer at food bank in your area.
- Send your senior a gift of healthy-ready-in-minutes meals that can be stored in the freezer.