“I was in control”
“The recession has done terrible things”
“All my life I struggled, and now in my 70s, I still have to struggle?”
These are just a few of the jarring comments heard on this recent PBS Newshour: Number of seniors threatened by hunger has doubled since 2001, and it’s going to get worse. The comments are, sadly, similar to the comments we hear at Tabitha every day from the Elders we serve throughout a continuum of services.
But how did it get this way? A combination of injuries, health conditions, dwindling retirement funds and rising living expenses have made senior years uncertain, unpredictable. Unable to work, these individuals, our grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers and fathers are forced to look for help to pay for basic expenses like food and medications. The population in need has doubled over the last 15 years and is expected to double again by 2025.
It’s a problem in need of a solution. Tabitha has worked for decades to provide solutions for senior hunger. In 1967, Tabitha Meals on Wheels delivered its first meal and just this spring, delivered its four millionth. Meals on Wheels programs are seen throughout the nation, but have difficulties keeping up with the demand, often creating waiting lists or turning seniors away. Tabitha’s program relies on the generosity of volunteers and donors and is able to say “yes” to those in need, despite a 26% increase over the last three years.
Other programs, like Tabitha’s Adult Day provide an economical option, a “home-away-from-home” during the day for seniors who may need some health professional support but still live independently or with loved ones.
Congress is doing their part as well. There are a few bills in the U.S. Senate Finance Committee being considered that would help improve funding to programs that would help seniors remain independent and well-fed. Take a look at this article from Leading Age to learn more about how you can support those bills that will support those who built our communities.
Nearly one in six seniors in this country will go hungry today. It doesn’t have to be that way. Write to your U.S. Senator about the proposed bills or volunteer for a senior food program like Tabitha Meals on Wheels. You can make a difference.