Older adults struggle with hunger

BOWLING GREEN Ky.- The Barren River Area Development district is working to address food insecurity among the region’s elderly residents. Some 5.5 million older adults or 7.7 % of the senior population are going hungry nationwide, according to stats from Feeding America. Kentucky is no exception to the number of hungry seniors.

“We have case managers who assess them for home delivered meals and other in-home services,” said director of aging and independent living of the Barren River Area Developmental District Michelle Hines.

These home-delivered meals are delivered to those citizens who may not be able to get the food they need because of their age. The reasons can be from lack of mobility to not having access to enough money. The meals are sent by the BRADD office as work orders to the senior center in the Community Action of Southern Kentucky facility. Warren County Senior Center manager Bridget Lutenski said the delivery system provides meals for those who need it, and a sense of service for the center.

“It helps us in the sense that we feel as though we are serving our community and that our drivers feel as though they get to know the people and provide services that are very beneficial to them,” Lutenski said.

Foster Grandparent program director Sandi Knight says the situation is devastating and is happy to be part of the fight against hunger in older adults.

“I think it’s heartbreaking. Individuals who have worked so hard all their life and so many of them have big families and they’ve contributed to the community, and they don’t know where their next meal is coming from or they have to choose between their medicine and their meals, and I think that’s very sad,” Knight said.

While the situation is dire, Knight said knowing the struggling seniors are gaining from the help makes it worth it.

“When you work with seniors that have that struggle and have a hard time maintaining their independence, you get so many hugs and you see the appreciation  on them and let’s face it, we all like to be appreciated and we all like to know we’re doing something that benefits somebody,” Knight said.