Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Food insecurity among senior citizens is a regularly neglected nationwide epidemic. It affects 16% of those ages 65 and up, roughly 8 million people. Senior citizens are also the fastest-growing food insecure population in the United States. Since the 2007 recession, the number of seniors facing hunger has increased a drastic 65%. This problem is only expected to get worse as our population ages.
This lack of reliable access to affordable and nutritious food often forces senior citizens to make burdensome decisions. 60% of older adult households have to choose between paying for food or utilities; 49% must choose between groceries and housing, and 63% are forced to make an impossible decision between food and medical care.
Food insecurity also disproportionately affects already marginalized groups. Seniors of color, seniors with disabilities, and seniors belonging to the LGBTQ community all face higher rates of hunger and lower rates of access to low-cost and healthy meals.
This widespread problem can be attributed to countless reasons. Some argue that high rates of food insecurity among seniors resulted due to diminished incomes, loss of employment, rising healthcare and housing bills. Others argue that it’s due to low Social Security, low Supplemental Security Income, and low eligibility and access to SNAP, I.e. food stamps.
Gladewaves recognizes that food insecurity among seniors is seemingly connected to all of these, but our focus is ending the problem. Our senior outreach program, held 5 times a month provides local seniors with a balanced nutritious meal along with guest speech touching on a variety of topics relating to books, health, science, culture, and more. We hope that through this program, local seniors who may or may not be food insecure, have access to a warm meal and stimulating conversation. Gladewaves is committed to addressing food insecurity, depression, and loneliness in the senior community.