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Food Insecurity In Aging Essay

1813 words - 8 pages

Section I. Food Insecurity Aging Society:
The United States is experiencing social issues related to food insecurity and hunger. Current research states that older adults are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. In a study published in the Journal of Urban Health states, “Among the 14.6% of American households experiencing food insecurity, approximately 2 million are occupied by older adults” (Chung, Gallo, Giunta, Canavan, Parikh, & Fahs, 2011, p. 1). Since the year 2011 the Athens Community Council on Aging reports, “Almost 9 million older adults in the United States are at risk for hunger, and Georgia is 8th in state rankings for older adult risk of hunger” (2014, p. 1). ...view middle of the document...

This is the 8th highest rate in the State of Georgia out of a total of 159 counties. This rate is more than double the state’s rate at 13.0 percent (prosperousathens, 2014).
Statistical data provided by the Administration on Aging report, “Over 3.9 million elderly persons (9.1%) were below the poverty level in 2012. This poverty rate is statistically different from the poverty rate in 2011 (8.7%). Another 2.4 million or 5.5% of the elderly were classified as near-poor” (AoA, 2014, p.1).
Subsequently, lack of access with transportation for the oldest-of-old may contribute to food insecurity. The aged may have the means to buy food however; they are unable to access food because of their inability to drive or not owning a vehicle to visit grocery stores. Food deserts may exist posing problems for citizens. Food deserts “are parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers” (American Nutrition Association, 2014, p. 1).
Not to mention, chronic health issues typically exist with the old-old 75 and over population cohort. Additionally, the oldest-of-old persons 85 and above have conditions which can be aggravated by being compromised by food insecurity, poor nutritional status, and lack of physical activity (Lee, Fischer, & Johnson, 2010). People with compromised immune systems especially need adequate nutritional support. Consequently, a healthy immune system can help the human body fight infection, reduce likelihood of developing cancerous tumors, and ward off autoimmune and degenerative disease (Chandra, S., Chandra, R.K., 1985).
Physical or mental impairments the oldest-of-old commonly share are lack of functional ability to prepare their own meals or feed themselves can cause health problems (Wolfe, Frongilo, & Valois, 2003). Instrumental activities of daily living are a measurement of functional ability for elderly adults. Concerns for the aged such as meal preparation, shopping, housework, and money management are qualities that are necessary for daily life (Hillier & Barrow, 2011).
Thus, strategies need to be developed and utilized by the aged to overcome food insecurities. Such strategies that individuals and families are using to overcome food insecurities are receiving congregate meals, home-delivered meals, and other community based services from the Athens Community Council on Aging.
Section II. Agency:
Community centers such as the ACCA provide nutritious group meals and deliver meals-on-wheels, which is funded by the Older Americans Act. The United States Congress in 1965 passed landmark legislation regarding the shortage of services provided for older American citizens. A new federal governmental agency was established named, Administration on Aging (AoA). For this reason, this new agency was to oversee social services and community planning, research and...

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