Food Insecurity and Older Adults
The holidays are here, and many of us are dreaming about turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie! It’s a time to take stock of our blessings and to reach out in the spirit of giving to our neighbors. At Aging Resources, we feel fortunate to operate in a community where neighbors still help neighbors, and grateful to be able to fill in with our services when a little extra assistance is required.
One obstacle members of our community may be facing this year is food insecurity, defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food to support a healthy, active life. It can result from a tight financial budget, mobility issues, or even lack of transportation. According to AARP and Meals on Wheels America, nearly 10 million older adults face the threat of hunger, meaning they’re at some level of food insecurity.
A lack of access to sufficient, nutritious food can have serious consequences. Older adults facing this challenge are 60 percent more likely to suffer from depression, 40 percent more likely to experience congestive heart failure, and are 65 percent more likely to be diabetic. They may find their sleep and mobility disrupted. In addition to this human cost, the annual health care costs associated with malnutrition in older adults is $51 billion. That’s more than the medical costs accruing from older adult falls every year.
At Aging Resources, we have partnered with SECOR Cares (a nonprofit free food market) to help our older neighbors struggling with access to weekly groceries. We've delivered 1965 boxes of food throughout the county in the last year. These boxes provide a week's worth of nutritious groceries at no cost. They include shelf-stable products, frozen meats, and fresh in-season produce.
Another way we help combat food insecurity is by providing rides to the grocery store through our transportation program. And if a rider needs a little help in the store, our volunteers will be happy to assist with the shopping!
If you or someone you know is struggling, please refer them to Aging Resources for assistance. Or, if you'd like to volunteer to help, give us a call - you'll provide a much-needed service to an older neighbor and make a friend in the process!
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Blogs are written by ARDC staff members