Food insecurity among seniors is a growing concern. By 2050, an estimated 8 million seniors nationwide will struggle to get enough to eat. In New York State, 9.7 percent of senior households were food insecure in 2019. Senior hunger is associated with adverse health outcomes, including an increased likelihood of diabetes, high blood pressure, and poor cardiovascular health.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a critical safety net for low-income seniors, providing monthly benefits that can be used to purchase nutritious food. Seniors who participate in SNAP see improved food security, better nutrition, improved health, and better medication adherence.
New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reaffirms the vital role SNAP plays in safeguarding the health of seniors. The study found SNAP participation among adults age 65 or older reduced hospital visits, long-term care admissions, and lowered Medicaid costs by $2,360 per person per year. The study also found that outreach and application assistance increased SNAP participation more than seven-fold.
These results underscore the urgent need to enroll eligible seniors in SNAP. While New York State exceeds the national average in SNAP participation among seniors—70 percent of eligible seniors in New York are enrolled in SNAP compared to 42 percent nationwide—an estimated 200,000 eligible older New Yorkers do not receive benefits.
Our SNAP and Seniors Professional Network aims to close that gap by connecting service providers with the tools and resources they need to help seniors access SNAP. Membership is free and open to any provider or organization committed to the health and well-being of seniors. Learn more and join here.