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48% of NYC’s Elderly Face Food Insecurity: Study Reveals Struggles of 1.8 Million Older Adults

48% of NYC Elderly Face Food Insecurity Amidst Low Incomes and Social Isolation

New York City‘s Older Adults Struggle with Food Insecurity

According to Business Insider, a recent study by Citymeals on Wheels and the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute has found that nearly half of New York City‘s older adults are struggling with food insecurity. The survey which included 500 elderly New Yorkers highlighted the severe challenges they face in securing regular meals and revealed significant gaps in social and government support. The study found that 48% of respondents experienced food insecurity over the past year. This includes worries about running out of food before getting more money and being unable to grocery shop or cook due to physical or psychological barriers. These difficulties are exacerbated by low incomes with 65% of those surveyed living on $15,000 a year or less. This is just 20% of New York City‘s median household income which was $74,694 in 2022.

While 56% of respondents receive SNAP benefits 34% reported that this assistance is insufficient to meet their basic needs. The struggle is particularly harsh for those whose income is just above the SNAP eligibility threshold leaving them without enough resources to sustain themselves. Social isolation is another significant issue for New York’s elderly. The survey found that 45% of respondents do not have friends or family who can provide them with at least one meal a day. Additionally 82% have never used mental health services and many face loneliness and depression. The lack of internet access further isolates them with 45% reporting little to no access. The cost of food remains a significant burden. Although grocery prices have stabilized the cost of dining out continues to rise making it difficult for those who might find it easier to eat out rather than cook. This is particularly challenging for the 41% who sometimes or never manage to grocery shop and the 15% who cannot cook due to physical or mental difficulties.

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48% of NYC’s Elderly Face Food Insecurity: Study Reveals Struggles of 1.8 Million Older Adults (PHOTO: AARP)

Study Urges Enhanced Support for NYC‘s Aging Population Amid Food Insecurity Crisis

Furthermore, the study underscores the urgent need for more comprehensive support for New York City‘s aging population. With nearly 1.8 million residents aged 60 and older and a substantial portion attending older adult centers or receiving home-delivered meals the findings highlight the critical role these services play. However the gaps in assistance reveal a pressing need for enhanced food security measures and better support systems to address the intertwined issues of financial strain, social isolation and mental health among the elderly. Efforts to improve access to food increase SNAP benefits and expand mental health services are crucial steps towards alleviating the hardships faced by New York’s vulnerable older adults

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