With the continuing challenges of the economy and the rapidly increasing number of senior citizens, the number of older Americans struggling to put food on their tables is also on the rise. According to a report released this month by the food bank network Feeding America and funded by AARP Foundation, approximately 13 million American adults aged 50 and older are battling hunger. Feeding America is a “nationwide network of 200 food banks that provide food to more than 46 million through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America,” according to their website.
Matt Knott, president of Feeding America, said in a press release, “Our network serves 13 million older adults and we expect that number to rise. Every day for the next 15 years, 10,000 people will turn 65.” The report, Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger After Fifty examined comprehensive profiles of older adults and their households, splitting them into three major categories:
- All adults above the age of 50
- “Pre-seniors,” age 50 to 64
- Seniors, age 65 to 74 and age 75 and above
Further analysis revealed that among multi-generational households, those with at least one older adult and at least one grandchild, 77 percent live at or below the federal poverty line. And among that many challenges pre-seniors face, they are particularly vulnerable to hardship and are more likely than their older peers to experience housing instability, such as having to move in with friends or family in the past year (18%) or have faced foreclosure or eviction in the past five years (15%) as well as live in a household that does not have reliable access (as defined by the USDA) to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food (86%).
AARP Foundation president Lisa Marsh Ryerson said in a statement. “We have found that the ‘youngest old’ tend to suffer the most, often having to skimp on meals or skip them altogether because they can’t afford them.” That “youngest old,” or “pre-seniors,” includes approximate 8 million Baby Boomers.
Maura Daly, a spokeswoman for Feeding America, explained to USA Today, that age group is “particularly vulnerable to hunger because the vast majority are not eligible for federal programs aimed at helping older adults such as Medicare and Social Security.”
In addition to Feeding America, many U.S. seniors may receive meals from local chapters of Meals on Wheels or food assistance from other community programs. To learn more, watch the USA Today video below and read the full report of Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger After Fifty on FeedingAmerica.org/SolveSeniorHunger.
If the time has come when your aging loved one is no longer able to live independently, please contact the knowledgeable staff at ElderLink to help you find elder care services or an assisted living facility within California that is customized for your family.