May 28, 2020
This is part of a FRAC chat series for Older Americans Month.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted stark and entrenched racial, ethnic, and income disparities present in the United States and has exacerbated food insecurity and the need for nutritional assistance.
Struggling with food insecurity and the associated health risks well before the COVID-19 public health crisis began, older adults have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, especially those who are 65 and older, older adults of color, and older adults with underlying medical conditions. Many are at disproportionate risk of contracting COVID-19, and struggle to put food on the table, let alone stockpile enough for sheltering in place.
Large-scale efforts are needed to protect the health and safety — and the very lives — of older adults in the time of COVID-19 and beyond. This includes work to address food insecurity.
To protect older adults by ensuring access to nutritional support, FRAC has developed resources to connect older adults to proven nutrition programs and to advocate for needed Congressional action to address growing food insecurity among the older adult population.
Resources to Connect Older Adults to Nutrition Programs
To highlight the options that are available to address older adult food insecurity during COVID-19, FRAC has produced several new resources.
- FRAC’s brief, Helping Older Adults Struggling Against Hunger Access Food in the Age of COVID-19, explores four key actions that anti-hunger stakeholders can take to minimize exposure to COVID-19 through person-to-person contact when it comes to older adults accessing food. It lays out strategies for leveraging available options and advocacy opportunities for SNAP, as well as Older Americans Act nutrition programs and emergency food programs.
- FRAC’s referral chart, Older Adult (age 60+) Nutrition Programs Referral Chart During COVID-19, provides information on nutrition programs available to older adults that are administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This chart highlights key points, such as program eligibility, operations, and response to COVID-19.
- FRAC’s one-pager, Older Adults Benefit From Federal Nutrition Programs During the COVID-19 Pandemic, includes short overviews of nutrition programs available to older adults that stakeholders can use as a quick reference or that they can share with older adults.
Resources to Support Advocacy Efforts
Continued advocacy is needed to urge Congress and the administration to help curb food insecurity among older adults and jumpstart the economy, by passing the next COVID-19 relief package. To assist with these efforts, FRAC has produced two new resources:
- Communications Toolkit: This all-in-one resource features infographics, tweets, and a video to urge your Members of Congress to take action and support older adult nutrition; and
- COVID-19 Response webpage: Get updates, including resources on older adult nutrition programs, on efforts and opportunities that are in play to ensure that all people, especially older adults, have access to nutrition programs during the COVID-19 emergency.
With the dual threats to the economy and public health that COVID-19 brings, it is vital now more than ever to leverage and invest in the federal nutrition programs for their proven ability to support the nutrition, health, and well-being of older adults and to boost economic activity.