Health Concerns for Seniors in Needby Montgomery Area Food Bank on 01/15/14
Every day, seniors across Alabama are forced to make hard choices between food and other basic necessities. Today’s seniors in need are a melting pot of lifestyles and circumstances. Peppered among the chronically impoverished, those who faced tight budgets, low wages, and other such impediments throughout life, are seniors who had set aside modest retirement accounts (accounts that were ravaged by the 2008 financial collapse) and those who were laid off and have not found a new position in the years since. All seniors in need, no matter their background, deserve to live healthy, full lives!
For seniors, the struggles associated with hunger are particularly challenging. Typically, seniors are already facing more complicated and costly health issues than other demographics. Seniors also have fewer opportunities for employment, whether due to health problems or employer prejudice, than their younger competitors.
Let’s look at some of the key impacts of poor nutrition and hunger on seniors in need:
Increase in health complications
It can also impede a senior’s ability to heal and recover after accident, injury, illness or surgery. Furthermore, with many prescriptions requiring that you take them on a full stomach, hunger can decrease the efficacy of prescription medications, make a senior feel ill, or otherwise prevent seniors from taking and fully benefiting from prescription medications.
Decrease in mobility and/or activity level
Studies have shown that seniors who are hungry tend to have an activity level equal to someone 14 years older than they are due to a lack of essential nutrients and low caloric intake; meaning that a 65 year old can have the activity level of an average, well-fed 79 year old. Such decreases in mobility and activity level can accelerate muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, and other such issues.
Increase in chronic disease
Poor nutrition limits intake of essential vitamins and minerals, which can create or compound health issues. Hunger and poor nutrition among seniors increases the risk of stroke, diabetes, depression and other chronic diseases. Hunger can also exacerbate problems from pre-existing conditions.
Hunger, as we have often said, knows no allegiance or prejudice. It simply exists, reaching across ethnicities and geography, waiting for active and engaged individuals to stand up and make a difference.
MAFB is working hard to reach out to the more than 66,000 seniors living in poverty across our 35-county service area. MAFB works with Partner Agencies to offer Emergency Food Pantries, Meals on Wheels Programs, On-Site Feeding Programs, and Mobile Pantries. Our rapidly growing Senior Supplement program augments these feeding programs by reaching seniors that are often, either due to health concerns or financial restrictions, unable to leave their homes and visit their local MAFB Partner Agency or attend a Mobile Pantry to receive food support.
We invite you to learn more about our Senior Supplement Program here.
Want to make a big impact? With a recent grant from the Hussman Foundation, donations from new donors given to benefit the Senior Supplement Program will be matched dollar-for-dollar. This grant is available until November 2014, and will match up to $10,000. Please consider taking advantage of this opportunity to help us as we strive to reach out to more seniors in need! Donate now.