Seniors who experience food insecurity or hunger are at risk for serious health problems.
Hunger increases their risk for stroke and exacerbates pre-existing health problems. Hunger in seniors may limit the effectiveness of many prescription drugs and may affect brain chemistry in a way that increases the incidence of depression.
For seniors, protecting oneself from food insecurity and hunger is more difficult than for the general population.
A study that focused on the experience of food insecurity among the elderly population found that food insecure seniors sometimes had enough money to purchase food, but did not have the resources to access or prepare food due to lack of transportation, functional limitations, or health problems.*
* ”Understanding the Experience of Food Insecurity by Elders Suggests Ways to Improve Its Measurement,” The Journal of Nutrition, September 2003
Meet senior citizens JoAnn and John
Elder Hunger Statistics
In Tarrant Area Food Bank’s 13-county service region:
- In 2009, among the families who came to our partner pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, 14 percent had members 65 or older.*
- Among individual clients who, themselves, came to our partner pantries, 11 percent were 65 or older.*
Nine percent of all seniors aged 65 or older in our service region lived below 100 percent of the federal poverty line in 2000, the latest year for which this statistic is available. **
- For a household of one, this means having an income of less than $10,830 per year in 2009.
- For a family of two, this means an income of less than $14,570 per year.***
- In 2009, 2.9 million persons 65 or older were served by the national network of regional food banks, Feeding America, that includes Tarrant Area Food Bank.****
* Regional survey for Tarrant Area Food Bank conducted in 2009 as part of Hunger in America 2010, a study commissioned by Feeding America, the national network of regional food banks.
** U.S. Census Bureau, “Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000 Summary File 3”
*** U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “The 2009 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia”
**** Hunger in America 2010, The National Report