Meals on Wheels America today released Hunger in Older Adults – a report seeking to increase the understanding of a variety of food assistance programs that can work in combination to more effectively address the needs of the more than 10 million older Americans facing hunger each year. The need for this resource became apparent amidst a pilot project funded by AARP Foundation and Caesars Foundation that sought to use tablet technology as a means to increase enrollment of eligible individuals in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In doing this work, the need for additional information about the full range of federal food assistance programs emerged.
“Hunger in Older Adults is intended to help expand access by eligible homebound older adults to available food assistance programs,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “What we quickly uncovered was that there is limited guidance available for those seeking to assist both homebound and ambulatory older adults in accessing needed food assistance.”
While national, state and local assistance programs often operate independently, are administered by different agencies and/or lack both public and private funding, using these programs in a coordinated way can more effectively address the myriad of health, environmental, physical and economic barriers to food security that many older adults face. Through best practices and actionable strategies, this report seeks to engage Aging Network leaders and advocates as partners to increase use of food assistance programs by older adults as this vulnerable population is set to double by 2050.
For the first time in one place, the Hunger in Older Adults report:
- Examines national programs that address these issues, silos in these systems, and potential strategies;
- Synthesizes publicly available research and information from government, organizations, academic studies, aging services reports and technical assistance materials;
- Examines the multiple ways that State Units on Aging (SUAs) tackle food insecurity to better address senior hunger issues within their state;
- Illuminates some of the challenges and opportunities for the community-based nutrition services network in serving older adults; and
- Recommends actions for leaders and advocates to better communicate, coordinate or collaborate, and develop the most effective interventions.
“It is our hope that this report will help the aging services network strengthen their ability to serve vulnerable older adults in communities across the country,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation.
"The Caesars Foundation is proud to support Meals on Wheels and the AARP Foundation in its work to address hunger among older adults," said Executive Director Thom Reilly. "Initiatives such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, are critical to our ability to help people meet their basic needs."
Click here to view the full report.