Congress working to address high rates hunger among seniors nationwide

WASHINGTON D.C. — Federal lawmakers are discussing how to improve nutrition for our seniors.

A recent congressional report found more than 5 million people over the age of 60 are struggling to find affordable and healthy meals.

Research from the nonprofit Feeding America shows older adults often face a combination of medical and mobility challenges. They can become a major barrier for seniors trying to access healthier food options.

These challenges also impact minority seniors at a higher rate.

Federal data shows older Black adults are nearly four times as likely to experience hunger compared to older white adults. Latino seniors are more than twice as likely.

At a recent congressional hearing, lawmakers talked with seniors who either rely on foodbanks or volunteer at them.

Elayne Masters from Pennsylvania was one of them. She said she uses SNAP and other federal programs to get healthy food.

“I didn’t have to worry about what is my next meal, where is my next meal going to come, what is it going to look like, how is it going to hurt me or help me? So these programs have helped me to address my health needs,” she said.

Masters said sometimes her health condition makes it difficult for her to get to the store. She wants Congress to expand online and home delivery services for seniors.

“Having transportation options and delivery options is key,” said Masters. “The produce is there. The food is there. If you can’t get to it, it really doesn’t do you any good.”

There’s also some bipartisan legislation that would create a federal task force to address hunger among seniors. Another bill would provide dedicated funding for those recommendations.