The number of older adults is projected to increase over the next decade and continue to rise in the following decade. In 2040 there will be 79.7 million older adults, more than twice as many as in 2000. Additionally, the senior population is becoming increasingly diverse. Between 2012 and 2030, the white population of 65 and plus is projected to increase by 54 percent compared with 125 percent for older minorities.[i]
These changing demographics will have profound impacts on the demand for social services, especially the need for adequate and culturally appropriate nutrition services. Seniors may have unique nutritional needs and challenges that separate them from the rest of the population and must be considered.
Charitable Food Assistance[ii]
For seniors, protecting oneself from food insecurity and hunger is more difficult than for the general population. For example, a study that focused on the experience of food insecurity among the elderly population found that food insecure seniors sometimes had enough money to purchase food but did not have the resources to access or prepare food due to lack of transportation, functional limitations, or health problems.[vii]
Federal Nutrition Assistance
[i] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. (2012). A profile of Older Americans: 2012.
[ii] Feeding America, Hunger in America 2014, National Report. August 2014.
[iii] Coleman-Jensen, A., Gregory, C., & Singh, A. (2014). Household Food Security in the United States in 2013, Table 2. USDA ERS.
[iv] Ziliak, J.P. & Gundersen, C. (2014). The State of Senior Hunger in America 2012: An Annual Report. Prepared for the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH).
[v] Feeding America and National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH). (2014, March). Spotlight on Senior Health Adverse Health Outcomes of Food Insecure Older Americans.
[vi] Ziliak, J. & Gunderson, C. (2009, September). Senior Hunger in the United States: Differences across states and rural and urban areas. University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Special Reports. http://www.mowaa.org/document.doc?id=193
[vii] Wolfe WS, Frongillo EA, Valois P. (2003). Understanding the experience of food insecurity by elders suggests ways to improve its measurement. J. Nutr. 133:2762-2769, 2003.
[viii] DeNavas-Walt & Carmen, B.D.. U.S. Census Bureau. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013. September 2014.
[ix] The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2012. (2013). U.S. Census Bureau.
[xi] Ziliak, J. & Gunderson, C. (2009, September). Senior Hunger in the United States: Differences across states and rural and urban areas. University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research Special Reports. Retrieved October 7, 2010.
[xii] Lee JS, Frongillo, Jr. EA. (2001). Nutritional and health consequences are associated with food insecurity among U.S. elderly persons. J. Nutr. 131: 1503-1509, 2001