Stop Senior Hunger
There is an epidemic facing many in our own community and across America. One sector of our community that suffers from hunger is our growing 65 and older population. Today, one in nine seniors is at risk of hunger. The Meals on Wheels Association of America projects that by 2025, an estimated 9.5 million senior Americans will experience some form of hunger or “food insecurity,” about 75 percent higher than the number in 2005.
Hunger Can Affect Seniors of Any Income
Over 50% of seniors at risk of hunger live above the poverty line. Among the reasons for hunger: changes in taste, disease or medication; lack of transportation to obtain food; inability to prepare food; limitations to chewing due to dental problems or dentures; or a general lack of interest in eating due to loneliness or depression.
For seniors the implications are serious and could mean the potential for increased hospital stays, increased health complications, or premature death.
What You Can Do to Help
- Offer your help. By asking a senior adult if they need help something like grocery shopping, you are offering support. “Help” isn’t always monetary.
- Be an advocate. Whether you are caring for an aging parent, relative or family friend, you can be an advocate for them. Learn to detect the signs of malnutrition and hunger in your older loved ones.
- Pay attention to their eating habits, keep them company during meal time or invite them for a family meal. When you take your loved one for a doctor visit, be sure to discuss their changing nutritional needs with their doctor.
- Find out where to get assistance. Local and federal programs are available to help seniors. Check out Meals on Wheels Association of America or Feeding America® to see if there is a senior food distribution program in your neighborhood.
- Understand what good nutrition means. Seniors can improve their quality of life and preserve their independence longer by making dietary changes. About 30 million older Americans live with chronic diseases for which nutrition therapies can be effective in managing and treating, according to the American Dietetics Association.
Making improvements in nutrition can play an important role in overall health for seniors.
For more information on the STOP Senior Hunger, visit www.stopseniorhunger.com.
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