When we talk about hunger, it’s usually in a different country that’s far from home. Now hunger hits American seniors too. It will only get worse as Boomers get older. According to a new study done by Feeding America, if we don’t address this problem, the number of seniors that face hunger will be up to eight million by 2050.
Hunger Hits American Seniors
Half the population of American seniors is in danger of being malnourished. This is especially dangerous with seniors because of how vulnerable they are to chronic health problems. Hunger and health issues go hand in hand, which will lead to more hospitalizations.
The government is trying to find more funding for food programs under the Older Americans Act (OAA). This act is meant to help older Americans stay healthy and comfortable through a variety of programs. Ninety-five percent of people that use the OAA’s nutrition programs have many different chronic conditions. Almost half of the people who used the OAA meal programs and nearly two-thirds of those who use home delivery meal programs have six or more chronic conditions.
The Old Solutions Won’t Work Anymore
The reason this issue has become so dire is that the Boomer generation is different from previous ones. For example, family isn’t as much of a safety net as it was before. Many Boomer women chose to stay single and focus on their career, so that means more people are relying on federal programs like Meals on Wheels. Some people even consider the Boomer generation to be the divorce generation. The rate of divorce among Boomers is high, depending on how the divorce went, adults may be alienated from their children.
Sad to say, programs like Meals on Wheels have been underfunded for a long time. Combine that with rising healthcare costs, America could become the survival of the fittest battle arena. Many younger older adults could face health deterioration and death before they reach their 70s and beyond because of all this.
Hopefully, because the situation is so dire, the government will pour more funds into meal programs, and we as a country can help keep American seniors well fed.
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