Senior Hunger and Malnutrition
You heard and watched it on TV, skinny kids with huge tummies and without nutritional food outside the United States. Are you shocked to read about senior hunger and malnutrition in our country?
Feeding America reported, nearly 3 million elderly persons are served by their organization each year and 30% of seniors had to choose between food and medical care and 35% had to choose between food and paying heat or utilities. In 2010, there were 3.5 million senior Americans who live below the poverty line.
As caregivers and children living away from your elderly parents or grandparents, do you see signs of hunger or malnutrition when you visit? How do you know ?
Sometimes it has nothing to do with money. Many seniors are home bound and have no way of going to the grocery store and have no knowledge of ordering food and nutritional products online.
They may forget to eat or help themselves with a balanced diet each day. Or they have no energy or excitement to cook for themselves because they are only cooking for one (themselves). Or some may be physically incapable of doing the food preparation and cooking. They may just resort to canned food everyday.
Of course, there are those who are lacking in money and living in hardship and not sharing with their loved ones about their financial struggles because of pride or they may not want to add extra burden to their children and grandchildren.
Meals on Wheels of Association of America (MOWAA) did a research on The Causes, Consequences and Future of Senior Hunger in the United States. In their findings, senior hunger is not confined to the poor. Hunger problems also likely to arise from young seniors between ages 60-64, high school drop outs and non-homeowners.
How can you help your aging parents or grandparents avoid hunger and malnutrition?
Have regular conversations with them or hire someone who can call them at least once a day to check on them.
Make a schedule with them or with their caregiver for weekly grocery shopping. If they no longer drive, arrange transportation for a trip to the grocery store and to the local coffee shop. This will be a way for them to get out of the house and engaged in a different activity. At the same time, they can choose the food they like to prepare.
Suggest places of worship or local community organizations with activities for seniors that they can participate and meet other seniors. These organizations may have volunteers or workers that make home visitations or do some volunteer work.
Check with their doctors to find out if there are medical issues that need immediate attention. They may be suffering from a ‘silent’ disease and never complain about it. Keep in mind that depression is a constant threat to the lonely and elderly.
Arrange for food delivery like pizza or from restaurants that set up home delivery system. In this internet age, you can order food from anywhere with your credit card or debit card and get it delivered. Think of it like sending flowers to your loved ones who lives for away. You can make arrangements for food deliveries from their favorite restaurants.
Most importantly, spend time talking to them and find out where they are at financially, physically and emotionally. You can refer to our past blog posts about conversations with your elderly parents. Keep your eyes open for new resources in your community. http://wwwRozzisCatering.com in Indiana will soon be rolling out a new individual sized meal program that allows you to pick up your food for the week at their kitchens or you may choose to have them ship it to your door once a week. Just heat and eat –delicious!
For more information about getting help for your aging parents and grandparents please go to www.keepingintouchsolutions.com.
Diana Beam is an entrepreneur with a vision and a heart for the elderly. She has more than 30 years of experience as a teacher, long term care administrator, home health care pioneer, senior real estate specialist and owner of Keeping in Touch Solutions. Her passion is to see working women and men with elderly parents set free from guilt of not having time or proximity to their aging parents and helping the elderly with their aging needs and transition challenges. Diana lives in Indiana with her husband Ron and they have 3 grown children, 2 grandsons and a golden retriever named Hope and a calico cat named Ms Dottie. Grab her free report, 7 ways to provide maximum support to your parents, today. If you’d like to learn more about Diana and how she helps elderly clients through Keeping in Touch Solutions, check out her website at www.