Senior Nutrition in Florida

Many seniors enter their retirement years on a tight budget. And for too many seniors, unexpected expenses lead to difficult financial decisions like having to choose between food, medicine and utilities. Grocery budgets are usually reduced first by cutting out the more expensive and more nutritious food like fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy. Unlike working age adults, seniors are less likely to recover from financial strain and are more likely to suffer negative health consequences from a poor diet. Studies have shown food insecure seniors are 2.33 times more likely to be in fair or poor health.

  • 8.8 Million American Seniors are food insecure; More than 700,000 of the 4.2 Million Florida Seniors struggle with hunger.
  • 7 Million or 17% of Seniors are served by our national network.
  • The number of Food Insecure Seniors is projected to increase to 50% when the youngest of the Baby Boomer Generation reaches age 60 in 2025.
  • 1 in 3 Client households have a member 60 years old or greater.

Compared to their food-secure peers, food-insecure seniors are:

  • 60% more likely to experience depression.
  • 53% more likely to report a heart attack.
  • 52% more likely to develop asthma.
  • 40% more likely to report an experience of congestive heart failure.

Elderly households are much less likely to receive SNAP Benefits (food stamps) than non-elderly households, even though the benefits are expected to be the same. Since seniors are less likely to seek help, Food Banks reach out to them through partner agencies to offer assistance. A variety of programs are available depending on the needs and resources of the community.

  • Benefits Connection - Helping to inform and navigate the process of applying for benefits like SNAP (food stamps) is an effective way to help provide food to seniors in need. In addition to SNAP, staff can qualify and enroll clients in Medicaid, TANF and the Medicare Savings Program, which benefits seniors and persons with disabilities.
  • Wellness Box Program - A selection of fresh produce and frozen meat is provided for clients with dietary restrictions due to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Second Helpings - Working with hotels, restaurants, theme parks, convention centers and resorts, some food banks pick up food that has been prepared but never served. These donations are delivered directly to partner agencies that serve a variety of clients, including seniors.
  • Mobile Pantries - A mobile pantry is a method of direct client distribution either working with a local agency to expand their capacity or operated independently by the Food Bank to reach areas that may not be served by a community partner. This method is often used to focus on communities where children and seniors are at high risk of food insecurity. The mobile pantry allows for higher quantity and quality of food for struggling families.
  • Senior Grocery Program - Partnership with local agencies and churches to provide a variety of fresh and shelf stable foods to low income seniors.

For additional information and other program, visit our Resources and Links page. 

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