September 20, 2012

New data released by USDA this month shows that nearly 9 percent of seniors living alone are at risk of hunger. Older adults often have special, health-related nutritional needs and may face limited mobility, both of which increase the challenges of addressing hunger in this vulnerable population.

Research from the AARP Foundation and Feeding America sheds light on the prevalence and conditions of senior hunger, and on-the-ground tactics used by the National Council on Aging and the Maryland Food Bank provide insights on the strategies and resources needed to address it:

  • A study by the AARP Foundation identifies characteristics that are more prevalent among food-insecure seniors, including living with grandchildren present or renting rather than owning a home.
  • Hunger's New Staple and other research from Feeding America reveal that seniors are among the most consistent pantry clients across age groups and that a nearly a third of senior pantry clients report having to choose between paying for food and medical care.
  • The National Council on Aging has developed innovative outreach activities to overcome common access barriers and better connect seniors to the food assistance they need.
  • To address the problem of senior hunger, the Maryland Food Bankhas developed a unique outreach activities to connect eligible older adults to benefits.

    After a lifetime of contributing to society, older Americans should not have to choose between buying groceries and paying for health care, housing, or other basic needs. Come hear our panel discuss efforts to combat senior food insecurity across the country and the critical role that the federal nutrition safety net plays in those efforts.


  • Lura Barber, National Council on Aging, Senior Policy Analyst
  • Michael Calopietro, AARP Foundation, Hunger Impact Area, Program Director
  • Lisa Davis, Feeding America, Vice President of Public Policy
  • John Shaia, Maryland Food Bank, Director of Programs


The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA's mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities.

The AARP Foundation and the Hunger Impact Area: the AARP Foundation is AARP's affiliated charity, dedicated to serving vulnerable people age 50 and over with low incomes, by creating solutions that help them secure the essentials and achieve their best life. AARP Foundation's four focus areas are: hunger, housing, income and isolation. AARP Foundation is working to reduce food insecurity among Americans age 50 and older by taking steps to feed those who are hungry now, while also developing long-term, sustainable solutions that address hunger at its root.

Feeding America's national network of food banks is the nation's largest hunger-relief organization, feeding 37 million Americans annually, including 3 million seniors.


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