One of the fastest growing food insecure groups in the country are senior citizens. Food insecurity is described as a condition where someone doesn’t have consistent access to enough healthy and affordable food. With the number of elderly people that are hungry on the rise each year, family caregivers need to do their part to ensure that their aging relative is not one of them. Recognizing the warning signs of food insecurity in seniors can prompt family caregivers to act.
Examples of Food Insecurity in Seniors
When most people think of hungry Americans, they usually envision homeless people or children living below the poverty level. While these groups do encounter plenty of food insecurity, it’s common for seniors to not be included in groups dealing with chronic hunger in the United States.
Seniors are especially at risk because they often live alone and deal with physical and mental health problems that prevent them from accessing nutritious, fresh food. Many elderly people are also proud and won’t ask family, friends or their community for help. The result is that too many seniors don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Solving Food Insecurity for the Elderly
There are many ways that family members and communities can help elderly people with food insecurity. Many cities and counties have established meal delivery programs for elderly adults, but too many don’t know about them or if they do, they don’t know how to sign up or are too proud to do so. Many private groups like churches or volunteer organizations also provide food delivery or food bank services for the elderly. Finally, many communities feature programs like community gardens, farmer’s markets and other similar food and nutrition events that can help the elderly get nutritious food on a regular basis.
How Family Caregivers Can Help
Family caregivers already know that many seniors live on a fixed income. As the cost of living outpaces earnings for elderly adults, it can be hard to make ends meet. Furthermore, many elderly people suffer with high medical costs for prescriptions, doctor visits and more. Too many seniors must make a choice between paying for food or paying for housing, utilities or medical care. Family caregivers should have an accurate picture of their loved one’s finances to ensure they have enough for food.
Sometimes, simply accessing food choices is the problem with elderly adults. Family members, home care aides, friends or neighbors can either take the elderly person shopping or bring in groceries. The food should include plenty of nutritious options and fewer processed foods and snacks. Good nutrition is essential for optimum health and studies show that seniors with healthy diets are less likely to develop illness and diseases.
Family caregivers should do what they can to ensure that their elderly relative is not living with food insecurity by setting up a support system of friends, family members, home care assistance and community services. No senior citizens should go hungry and family caregivers can be the first to step in and save the day.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in Walpole MA, or anywhere in Eastern Massachusetts, please call the caring staff at CARE Resolutions – (508) 906-5572.