Poverty, food insecurity, and poor nutrition have harmful
impacts on the health and well-being of older adults, which,
in turn, can limit their ability to work (for those still capable
of working), carry on daily activities, and live independently.
Maintaining good health, consuming a nutritious diet, and/
or managing an existing chronic disease can be especially
challenging for older adults struggling with food insecurity
for a variety of reasons, including limited finances and
resources, the cost of healthy foods, competing priorities,
functional limitations, and stress. One essential strategy to
improve food security and health is connecting vulnerable
older adults to the federal nutrition programs, including
the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),
Congregate Nutrition Program, and Home-Delivered
Nutrition Program. These profoundly important programs
have well-documented benefits for older adults.
This brief will review food insecurity rates and risk
factors among older adults; the connections between
food insecurity and health among older adults; and the
effectiveness of the federal nutrition programs in alleviating
food insecurity and supporting health for this population.