Nearly one in every six seniors in America faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished. This applies to those who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and those who don’t have access to the healthiest possible food options. The issue is severe enough that the AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of more than $130 billion every year due to medical issues stemming from senior hunger.
Senior hunger is an expansive issue that requires an understanding of exactly what constitutes a senior being “hungry,” the issues that stem from senior hunger, and how seniors who are hungry can be helped.
To understand the concept of seniors being hungry, you must understand what it means to be “food insecure.” When you are food insecure, it means that there is “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways,” as defined by a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Essentially, it means that you aren’t receiving and/or don’t have access to the necessary foods and nutrients to help sustain your life.
Factors that contribute to senior hunger are class and race, as well location, especially when considering "food deserts;" areas where there is an absence of fresh food or where food is inhibited because of the lack of grocery stores or the lack of transportation to get to one. Food deserts, like Prince William County, often fall in poorer areas of the country, which further fuels the food insecurity levels due to class. Living alone, education level, and age also affect senior hunger. Illnesses caused by being malnourished include depression, heart disease and diabetes, all of which contribute to limited activities of daily living and overall well-being.
More information about Senior Hunger can be found at: