An unacceptable number of seniors in this country go without enough food to eat. In 2002, the U.S. Census Bureau released a study showing that 55 percent of adults age 65 and older experienced food insecurity, and 1.5 percent of elderly households experienced hunger. And perhaps the worst part about these statistics is that this problem persisted – and continues to persist – despite programs that exist to help feed the elderly.
Seniors without adequate food can encounter a host of serious problems. At the top of this list, of course, are nutritional deficiencies that stem from an inadequate diet. But, in addition to the health problems that a poor diet can cause, seniors who go without meals can miss out on the social ritual that dining provides. To many, eating with friends or family means so much more than getting nutrients; it is a time for harmony and togetherness. And, as mentioned above, there are programs in place to help seniors meet these needs.
One of the programs to which we are referring here is the Meals-on-Wheels Senior Meal Program. Meals-on-Wheels offers home-delivered and congregate meals in cities throughout the state of Arizona. While home delivered meals can help seniors meet nutritional goals, they do not provide the social network that can be found in a congregate setting. For this reason, when health permits, congregate meals might be a worthy consideration for Arizona seniors. With programs like Meals-on-Wheels, Arizona seniors have a valuable resource to maintain their physical and mental health.