Let’s Talk About Unmentionables - Food Insecurity

Who knows what goes on behind closed doors?  It’s a secret.  It’s private.  It’s unsettling.  

No, this is not about your underwear drawer or closet.  

Today’s unmentionable is about your cupboard or pantry.  The unmentionable is senior hunger.

Many senior adults are experiencing food insecurity now more than ever before.  Best estimates are that more than ten percent of adults over age 65 experience persistent hunger.  How in a country of such vast abundance is it that we have retired citizens without enough food to eat?

  • The Great Recession of 2008 erased the financial gains of the pre-retirement saving, home value and pensions according to The Effects of the Economic Downturn on the Older Population.
  • Senior adults have high unemployment and underemployment rates following the Great Recession.
  • Social Security  Cost of Living Adjustment will not increase in 2016 but food prices continue to rise.
  • Medicare co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses are rising dramatically.
  • Social Security represents the major retirement income today for 96% senior adults in the USA.  For 36% of this group, Social Security is 90% of their income.
  • The average yearly benefit for Social Security is $16,000.00
  • Meals on Wheels, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),  and other groups that provide meals for the elderly continue to struggle for adequate funding

The Unmentionable are found in the pantry of our senior adults.  What do you find?  As  a young social worker I was trained to peek in the kitchen for signs of food insecurity.  If I found pet food my next question was to ask about the pet.  Why?  Some seniors who experience food insecurity recognize the low cost of canned pet food as a good food source.  


  • Food insecurity is caused by choosing between paying for expensive life saving medications or groceries.  
  • Food insecurity is caused by the lack of transportation to the grocery store.
  • Food insecurity is caused by the declining physical abilities that many seniors experience as they age.  
  • Food insecurity is caused by the overwhelming worry and fear of saving for tomorrow, not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Food insecurity is caused by our community’s unwillingness to talk about the Unmentionables.

Join us at REUNIONCare.  We are building Circles of Care around our most vulnerable citizens.

#mealsonwheels #SNAP #getSNAP #seniorhunger @_mealsonwheels