It’s getting close to the end of the month, and Mary’s Social Security check and food stamps are gone. How will Mary survive? She plans on eating eggs, soup, and peanut butter for the rest of the month. Rather than complain, Mary remarks, “There are people more desperate than I am – like my friends who are raising grandchildren – they have no money or food stamps left.”
All of us are aware there is hunger in this world. We often think of third-world countries and photos of small children with bloated, hungry bellies. Many of us may even recognize there is a hunger problem in the United States, but do we realize that many of those starving are seniors?
Statistics on Starvation
According to the Harry Chapin Food Bank:
• About 3,000 Southwest Florida seniors visit emergency food programs monthly
• About half of those eligible for food stamps do not actually use them
• Individuals aged 60 and over who go without food appear 14 years older than they really are
If the situation among seniors is so bad off, why hasn’t the public heard more about it? One key reason is fear. Many seniors who don’t have enough food or money to buy food are afraid to speak out for fear that someone – a family member or government official – will place them in a nursing home. Fortunately there are alternative care options for most seniors, including home care with the help of home care software or home care system.
Signs of a Starving Senior
Hungry senior citizens may be “hidden in plain sight” in any of our neighborhoods. Whether it is fear or embarrassment that keeps them from asking for help, many suffer in silence. Family members, physicians and care providers should all be on the lookout for the following signs of hunger:
• Poor health or unexplained physical problems
• Dental problems
• Avoids discussions regarding eating habits
Seniors who live at home alone are most at risk for going hungry. In order to avoid this, and other problems that can easily develop, families would do well to consider in-home care. Care providers that use a home care system or home care software like ClearCare can offer incomparable peace of mind with real-time visibility to patient’s daily point-of-care.
Feeding the Hungry with the Help of Home Care Software
While many seniors suffer hunger from lack of funds, a significant number of elderly ones simply ignore or forget meal times. Caregivers using ClearCare’s home care system or home care software can set daily tasks that include preparing nutritious meals and snacks.
If caregivers notice seniors are not finishing meals or avoiding eating, they should check what medications have been prescribed. Certain medications can reduce feelings of hunger and even prevent nutrient absorption. Such details can easily be communicated to physicians with ClearCare’s home care system so that adjustments can be made.
Families can rest assured that ClearCare’s home care system and home care software is an affordable and effective way to care for their elderly loved ones – and keep hungry seniors fed.
Other Ways to Help
In conjunction with the Harry Chapin Food Bank, Comfort Keepers and the United Way, Senior Friendship Centers has begun a Senior Hunger Task Force in Southwest Florida whose vision is to bring light to the issue of senior hunger. The task force’s goals are awareness, community collaborations and resources to eliminate this distressing trend.
Volunteers who wish to participate can donate food or money, or make deliveries to needy seniors. Interested ones can call 239-275-1881 to get involved and end senior hunger.