Pat and her husband, Red, live with their daughter, Candy, in Wells, Vermont. Red has Alzheimer's disease and Pat lives with diabetes. On a limited fixed income, it can be tough to buy healthy food. Thankfully, Pat’s local food pantry gives her the nutritious fruits and vegetables she and Red need. By providing meals to seniors like Pat, the Feeding America network of food banks is helping to keep seniors healthy longer — and making it possible for our seniors to age with dignity and wellness.
As America ages, hunger pains grow
The rate of hunger among seniors aged 60 and older has increased by 45% since 2001, a lingering effect of the 2008-09 recession. At the current rate, the number of food-insecure seniors may grow to more than 8 million by 2050. And hunger pains can be increasingly painful as we age:
- 63% of senior households served by the Feeding America network are forced to choose between food and medical care.
- Households served by the Feeding America network that include an adult of the age 50 or older are at an increased risk of having someone with a chronic health condition, including diabetes (41%) and high blood pressure (70%) — conditions that can be mitigated by healthy food options.
- Only 42% of eligible seniors are enrolled and receiving SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps) — making assistance programs for SNAP enrollment that much more important for seniors.