Caring Currents

Cupboards Bare? Rising Food Prices Affect Seniors

Last updated: May 21, 2008


Something caught my eye recently that really puts a human face on today’s economic uncertainties (beyond scowls at the gas pump).

An article in the New York Daily News looks at how some seniors are being walloped by the rising cost of food. Spikes in the price of bread, milk, eggs and other basics are tough for many seniors, especially those on a fixed income. And yes, their health is at stake.

Government forecasters say these rising prices aren’t going away any time soon , as the Associated Press reports. Bloggers are abuzz, circulating the latest stories.

Fortunately, there are ways to help. If you’re concerned about your parents' ability to pay for food, here are some possible ways to save:

  • Meals on Wheels and other meal delivery programs. Many charge on a sliding scale. Because they can buy in bulk, consumers pay less. For alternatives, check on-line using terms like senior meals and your parents' town.
  • Free or sliding-scale meals at the local senior or community center. Most provide meal service as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Older Americans Nutrition Program.
  • Farmer’s Market senior nutrition program. Cool government program that gives eligible seniors assistance to shop at local farmer’s markets. Here's how to see what's available in your parents' state.
  • Food stamp eligibility. Many low- or fixed-income seniors are eligible for food stamps. Here's a handy on-line eligibility tool .
  • Pitching in. Have family members team up to deliver a weekly bag of groceries.

Can you think of anything else?

Final thought: Many seniors --  in fact, many folks of any age for that matter -- are too proud to admit not being able to afford food. Approach the topic gently with your parents, focusing on the bottom line costs: food prices are going up, and their income isn’t. If you have any doubts, sneak a peek in their cupboards and fridge.

Image by Flickr user  spcummings used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.