Be Part of the Solution to Senior Hunger and Loneliness

September 10, 2017

By Jane Sandwood

Over a quarter of adults over the age of 65 live alone in America, with 79% of these being women. What’s even more of a concern is that 12% of these adults living alone don’t have enough money to pay their daily expenses. Food, shelter and warmth is a basic human right and there shouldn’t be seniors living without.

Taking care of yourself

Hunger has a terrible effect on seniors, the statistics are there – almost 10% of senior Americans face the threat of hunger. This figure has doubledin 15 years. Many of the older generation that go hungry are no longer taking care of themselves, and this is where they need help. Meals on wheels are essential in these circumstances, but shouldn’t be there for the elderly to have a little human contact, yet that is a common comment for so many people. The sad fact is that if you live on your own you are more likely be going hungry on a regular basis.

Feeding seniors, feeding the soul

What would you say is the key to a happy life when you’re older? The answer for most would be to be active and see family and friends often. Yet there are so many elderly that are living alone with very little contact from anyone, and sadly family. Visiting your loved ones is so important. A smile and a conversation with another person shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be normal. Even more seriously, there is a link between social isolation and poverty. People who are socially isolated are more likely to go hungry and to be diagnosed with dementia. It is certainly food for thought.

Visiting your loved ones

When was the last time you visited a family member in a care home? It might have been your Grandmother last week, or maybe an elderly aunt a month ago. And when you did, I bet it crossed your mind that “when I get old, I don’t want to move into a care home.” However, residential facilities can be wonderful places. They are homes full of peer groups, your nutritional needs are taken care of, there are organised activities for seniors, and staff on hand to help.

Then imagine being elderly, perhaps you have had a hip operation and you can’t get out and about. You’re living in your flat on your own with no one around. Sure, there’s “independence”, but living on your own can breed loneliness and isolation. What would you prefer? So next time you’re passing, just pop in. Ten minutes is no time at all, yet it can make the world of difference to how someone feels. Be part of the solution to combating loneliness.

Arthur Biography: Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. She decided to move into freelancing to take advantage of the flexibility and work-life balance it offers. Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to health, fitness and nutrition.

 

Hidden Hunger: The Food Crisis of the United States

August 10, 2017

By Jane Sandwood

Although there is a huge push to help reduce world hunger, there are less initiatives surrounding the issue of hidden hunger. This is defined by the World Health Organization as a condition that occurs when the quality of food that people eat does not meet the nutrient requirements needed for growth and development. In many developing countries, this can be caused by a lack of resources; however, in developed countries such as the United States, it can be a result of economics and the cost of food.

The Hidden Hunger Issue in the States

When you see coverage of hunger on the news or ads for global hunger relief organizations , they depict starving, skinny children. However, in the United States, the picture of malnutrition is vastly different. People in the US are suffering from hidden hunger, which does not have the typical markers of starvation, but rather it often manifests as obesity. Over the past fifty years, the average male and female body shapes have changed due to a rise in obesity.

The obesity epidemic has disproportionately targeted people from lower-income backgrounds. The cost of living in the United States as well as the cheaper prices of unhealthy foods over healthy foods, have caused low income families to resort to foods lacking nutrients. When money is tight, people prioritize calories over nutrients. Since unhealthy produce such as sugary and processed foods, are full of calories and cheaper than healthy foods, lower-income families have to make do with these items.

Sometimes, grocery stores are also inaccessible without a car, so many families must resort to the local convenience store. These stores are generally filled with junk food rather than the fruits and vegetables that people need. This summer news reports revealed that the most disadvantaged parts of our nation’s Capitol have just three grocery stores for 149,750 people. Lastly, single family households or parents that are working two jobs simply don’t have the time to prepare a healthy meal. Therefore, they opt for fast food and microwavable dinners.

What Can You Do?

If no action is taken, the cost of food is expected to rise in the near-future. We all have a role to play to ensure that everyone has access to adequate nutrients. So, what can you do to help?

-Encourage your local grocery store to promote lower costs or sales promotions for healthy options

-Set up a local organization to help shuttle people to the grocery store

-Teach young children the importance of getting adequate nutrients

-Sponsor a healthy, nutrient-filled food drive

-Set up an community gardening initiative

-Volunteer at a local food bank

-Educate yourself about the food system

Like Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. One person can really make a difference.

Arthur Biography: Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. She decided to move into freelancing to take advantage of the flexibility and work-life balance it offers. Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to health, fitness and nutrition.

 

Can nuclear technology zap hunger in Central African Republic?

Tucked away on the University of Bangui campus in the capital of Central African Republic, a portacabin surrounded by palm trees shelters neat rows of test-tubes filled with green shoots. Here scientists are running a laboratory using advanced nuclear-derived techniques to find a solution to one of the war-torn country’s most urgent and deadliest problems: hunger.