Monday, April 22, 2024

Facing the issue of food affordability for older adults

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, poverty increased from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021 for those age 65 and older, affecting access to healthy food.

The National Council on Aging has committed to ending hunger among older Americans and NCOA’s work to end hunger includes connecting older Americans to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Photo: Rodnae Productions

At the recent White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, Ramsey Alwin, president and CEO of NCOA, made the following statement:

“Going hungry in the year 2022 in the United States of America is unacceptable. NCOA is proud to participate in today’s historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and we are committed to solving this pressing issue for all ages, including older Americans. NCOA stands with the multi-sector partners that are working to improving food access and affordability.

“First and foremost, we need to address the root cause of hunger—poverty. According to the U.S. Census Bureaupoverty increased from 8.9% in 2020 to 10.3% in 2021 for those age 65 and older. That’s almost 6 million older adults who cannot age with dignity and must choose every day whether to pay for healthy food, medicine, or utilities. Our older loved ones, neighbors, and friends do not deserve this.

“NCOA’s work to end hunger includes connecting older Americans to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Right now, only 48% of older adults who qualify are enrolled in SNAP, leaving $6.24 billion every year on the table among people struggling to make ends meet. 

“We know the barriers to SNAP enrollment include both lack of awareness and a complex application process. NCOA is addressing both issues through our online BenefitsCheckUp® tool that screens individuals for eligibility and our extensive support of community-based organizations that work to enroll older adults in SNAP, focusing on hard-to-reach populations. At the federal level, we advocate to ensure that SNAP and outreach efforts are properly funded. To date, NCOA’s work has enrolled 1.6 million older adults into SNAP.

“We also support an investment in Older Americans Act (OAA) programs that support food and nutrition for older adults. The President’s National Strategy calls for an increase in OAA funding for the Senior Nutrition Program.

“We applaud the White House for convening this critically important event. Now it’s time to turn our commitments and solutions into action to eradicate hunger in America.”

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is the national voice for every person’s right to age well. We believe that how we age should not be determined by gender, color, sexuality, income, or ZIP code. Working with thousands of national and local partners, we provide resources, tools, best practices, and advocacy to ensure every person can age with health and financial security. Founded in 1950, we are the oldest national organization focused on older adults. Learn more by following us at @NCOAging. 

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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