Seniors face a number of unique medical and mobility challenges that put them at a greater risk of hunger. After a lifetime of hard work, many find themselves struggling with health issues on fixed incomes. Many of these individuals are forced to choose between paying for groceries and buying medicine.
For more than 47,000 seniors in Middle Tennessee, food insecurity often means missing necessary nutrients that are critical to the unique conditions of aging. Additionally, we know that stable, nutritious diets can often help address our senior’s common medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
“Many seniors we serve are living on a fixed income and are often forced to choose between paying for groceries or paying for prescriptions,” said Jaynee Day, President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. “Yet, we know, healthy, nutritious food has a powerful impact on health and the well-being of our seniors. Thankfully, partners like Jackson National Life have taken action to help provide healthy, nutritious food for seniors in need.”
In 2011, Jackson National Life partnered with Second Harvest to address the growing problem of senior hunger by launching the Senior Nutrition Program. This initiative provides food resources that are easy-to-prepare and nutritious to help seniors make ends meet while living on fixed incomes. This healthy, senior-specific food is distributed weekly or monthly by a network of Second Harvest Partner Agencies which directly serves concentrated populations of seniors.
For example, Second Harvest partners with 50 Forward’s Meals on Wheels Program to provide high-risk seniors with additional food resources. Sharie Loik, Director of 50 Forward’s Meals on Wheels’ program says that hunger is what causes many seniors to reach out for help for the first time, opening up the possibility for a continuum of services.
“When you give people food and you show them they are valued, you have given them – in a time when it feels like many things are ending – you are giving them a new start. Society tells these people that it’s over, but statistics show us that people are living a lot longer. These people are not done. People need to know that they are valued,” says Loik.
Thanks to partners like Jackson National Life, seniors struggling with food insecurity across Middle Tennessee are provided for and valued. However, they are not done. Today, Jackson and its employees continued support of this initiative is critical as our region’s senior population continues to grow.