8 Million Baby Boomers Are Starving Says New Study
If a society is based on how they treat their elderly, America is not doing so well. A new study by Feeding America®, funded by the AARP, has found that 8 million Baby Boomers age 50 to 64 require charitable food assistance programs to supplement their needs.
Feeding America’s 2014 Hunger in America report, the largest study of charitable food assistance in the United States, polled over 60,000 people anonymously about their present household, health, financial and employment situations. The findings documentsthe unemployment, housing instability, poor health and unpaid medical bills as among the top challenges facing this group, many of whom are not age eligible for federal support programs like Social Security and Medicare.
“We have found that the “youngest old” – people 50 to 59 – tend to suffer the most, often having to skimp on meals or skip them altogether because they can’t afford them,” President Lisa Marsh Ryerson of the AARP Foundation stated.
The data compiled by the study was broken down in three categories: adults over 50, “pre-seniors” (age 50-64), and seniors (age 65 and above).
According to Feeding America, pre-seniors were most vulnerable to hardship and are more likely than their older peers to experience housing placement difficulty (18%), have unpaid medical bills (58%), live in or close to the poverty line (58%); and many of them cannot afford adequate food (86%).
Other disconcerting concerns was the ability (or inability) for pre-seniors to keep jobs, if and when they were able to secure employment at all. On top of the lack of prospects of finding jobs, pre-seniors often cited disability or poor health as determining factors in being able to keep their jobs or doing their tasks well.
Luckily, Feeding America, the foundation that compiled these statistics, is a network devoted to increasing resources to programs designed to address these niche health, economic and nutritional needs of an aging population. Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, they provide food to over 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America.
Armed with the new study, Feeding America can better target their efforts towards pre-seniors who desperately need advocacy.