eCare Diary is pleased to introduce Priya Vin, a new guest expert on Aging and intern. Priya has worked in the aging and developmental disabilities field for 5 years and is based in northern New Jersey. Her experience has been in program management. She received her Master's in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, where she specialized in health care policy. She is excited to be contributing to eCare Diary. Priya's contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Access to food or groceries is potentially another challenge an older adult can face. It can be a frustrating one as well. But it is an important issue to think about when caring for the older adult in your life.
It is important that there is access to food because as a person gets older, their dietary needs change for all sorts of reasons (i.e., cholesterol, blood pressure, etc...). And of course the most obvious, food is essential for every day nutrition and sustenance.
It can become an issue when they cannot go to the grocery store or cook for themselves. Sometimes, it is not even that. Health issues can make it harder to get to the store. For instance, there could be vision or reflex issues that can prevent driving, taking public transportation, or community transportation.
Sometimes there are barriers that no one can help such as having limited self-mobility. This is when a person's medical or health condition can prevent them from doing simple household tasks. It can make preparing a meal just very difficult.
Cost of food is another possibility. Rising costs on basic items can make it harder for someone on a fixed income to buy everything they need. Health care insurance and prescriptions can take over as the top priority for expenses. Thus, buying necessary food items is sacrificed. This is all especially true during hard economic times.
Luckily, there are a number of resources for older adults who need help with this.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels (http://www.mowaa.org/Page.aspx?pid=253) is a world-wide concept with organizations everywhere, who provide nutritious meals to people who are homebound and/or disabled, or would otherwise be unable to maintain their dietary needs. The daily delivery generally consists of two meals: a nutritionally balanced hot meal to eat at lunch time and a dinner, consisting of a cold sandwich and milk along with varying side dishes. In an effort both to cover costs and to maintain the elders' sense of dignity, the programs charge a small fee based on the individual's ability to pay.
Congregate meals are provided daily in group settings such as senior centers. Participants in the congregate meal program have the opportunity to socialize while enjoying nutritionally balanced meals. As part of the program, nutrition counseling and nutrition education are also made available.
Contact your local Area Agency on Aging (http://www.n4a.org/about-n4a/). According to the National Area Agency on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) were established under the Older Americans Act (OAA) in 1973 to respond to the needs of Americans 60 and over in every local community. By providing a range of options that allow older adults to choose the home and community-based services and living arrangements that suit them best, AAAs make it possible for older adults to remain in their homes and communities as long as possible. They will help you with finding a meal delivery service or congregate meals.
Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP): http://www.frac.org/pdf/ENPfactsheet.PDF
The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income needy persons, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance. http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/programs/tefap/
United States Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Information Center:
Increases food security and reduces hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education. http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=2&tax_subject=276&topic_id=1340
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
SNAP helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health. You apply for benefits by completing a State application form. Benefits are provided on an electronic card that is used like an ATM card and accepted at most grocery stores.
Through nutrition education partners, SNAP helps clients learn to make healthy eating and active lifestyle choices. http://www.fns.usda.gov/FSP/
Food Stamp Policy On Immigrants: http://www.fns.usda.gov/FSP/rules/Memo/2002/POLIMGRT.HTM
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Frequently Asked Questions:
General Information on Nutrition For Seniors: