May 7, 2019
May is Older Americans Month, providing an opportunity to highlight how millions of seniors in the U.S. struggle against hunger and the strategies available to help ensure more seniors have access to the nutrition they need to thrive.
Across the nation, there are more than 45 million households with seniors (60+), and close to 9.5 percent of them are food insecure, or do not have sufficient resources to afford enough food to fully meet their needs. Food insecurity rates for households with seniors vary state to state — Louisiana has the highest rate of senior household food insecurity at 16.3 percent, and North Dakota has the lowest rate at 3.9 percent — but no corner of the country is immune to food insecurity among seniors.
The impact of senior hunger extends far beyond an empty stomach: seniors struggling to put food on the table often face negative health, nutritional, and financial consequences. The good news is that solutions exist to help seniors receive enough nutrition to maintain a healthy, active, and independent life.
To help you join the fight against senior hunger this Older Americans Month, below are five ways you can help address food insecurity among seniors.
- Get vocal about the millions of seniors who are food insecure: Take advantage of Older Americans Month to spread awareness about food insecurity among households with seniors. Use FRAC’s suite of communications tools to spread the word about the issue of senior hunger and its negative consequences for seniors, their loved ones, and the communities to which they belong.
- Encourage new partners to fight senior hunger: The fight against senior hunger is a fight we all have a stake in. Connect those outside of the anti-hunger and anti-poverty sectors with resources to become advocates for ending senior hunger, including our free online course, Screen & Intervene: Addressing Food Security Among Older Adults.
- Be a champion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Educate local, state, and federal legislators and government officials about the multiple benefits of SNAP not only for seniors, but also for entire communities and local economies. As you make the case that SNAP is critical for seniors, use data from FRAC’s senior SNAP participation maps and state fact sheets.
- Help close the senior SNAP gap: Even though more than 5 million seniors participate in SNAP, more than 50 percent of all eligible seniors miss out on participating in the program. Read A Primer: SNAP’s Importance in Supporting Seniors Struggling Against Hunger in the U.S. to learn about opportunities for boosting participation among SNAP-eligible seniors.
- Reach out to seniors where you live: Take time this month to inform seniors in your community about senior hunger and why SNAP is a highly effective tool for reducing rates of food insecurity among older Americans. Be sure to keep your ears open for insights from those you speak with on additional ways to eradicate senior hunger and connect more eligible seniors to SNAP.
Learn more about how to fight senior hunger at FRAC.org.