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Food Insecurity: How to find help when you’re elderly or disabled

Do you ever wonder where you’ll get your next meal from? Or wonder how you can afford groceries? Are you in need of food but have no grocery store or means to get to one in sight? Are you elderly and/or disabled while trying to navigate these issues of food insecurity?


The disabled and elderly population already has enough obstacles; adding problems finding and affording food shouldn’t be one of them. Unfortunately, food insecurity persists. Many in the elderly or disabled population are on strictly limited or fixed incomes. Even when there’s physical access to food there may be no way to afford it. Maybe you can afford it, but there’s no way to get to the store and back; or delivery is too expensive or just plain non-existent in your area. So, what do you do?


Lack of food and resources can put an already at-risk population even more at risk. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be unsafe to leave the house. Trying to minimize risk while also making sure you can get essentials needed for survival has been one of the great challenges of the pandemic.


According to Feeding America, “The most recent report, released in 2020 using 2018 data, found that 5.3 million seniors, or 7.3% of the senior population, were food insecure in 2018. The rate of food insecurity among seniors is lower in recent years but remains significantly higher than pre-recession levels in 2007. State-level rates of food insecurity among seniors range from 2.8% in Minnesota to 14.3% in the District of Columbia. The study also includes analysis of metropolitan areas, with senior food insecurity rates ranging from 2.5% in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (MN) to 15.6% in the Memphis (TN) area.”

An article on food insecurity among the disabled by Syracuse University showed… the health of individuals with disabilities is likely compromised by food insecurity, which may interfere with disease management protocols such as the requirement to take medicine with food or to follow a specific diet (such as low-fat, low-sugar, or low-sodium). It is important for those working with disabled populations to regularly screen for food insecurity and to evaluate how food insecurity may be affecting health.”


Food insecurity can make you feel alone and scared. The good news? There are people, programs and policies in place to help! We’ve compiled a list of resources that can help! In addition, we have Patient Navigators at the ready with Patients Rising Concierge to direct you to the resources you’re looking for!

Patients Rising Concierge


Savethestudent.org compiled a great list of ideas on how to get food at a better price, or even a free meal. While this might not apply to everyone, it’s worth checking out! The info can be found here: https://www.savethestudent.org/save-money/food-drink/how-to-get-free-food-as-a-student.html

Access to food may not be you’re only obstacle. A lot of families may be struggling to even afford the food they need. There’s a few money saving options out there. A great one can be found at these two sites: https://www.struggletodaystrengthtomorrow.com/how-to-eat-no-money/


If you can get to one, a food pantry is a great place to look for food options. Feeding America and Foodpantries.org have a search options on their site where you can see what options are close by as well. Either of these places can help:




National Council on Aging: https://www.ncoa.org/older-adults/benefits/food-assistance

Senior Food Assistance Programs: https://www.senior-meals.org/Senior-Food-Assistance-Programs

Senior Box Program: https://www.feedingamerica.org/take-action/advocate/federal-hunger-relief-programs/csfp


Adults with Disabilities Home Service: https://www.ioaging.org/collaborations-elder-protection/the-adults-with-disabilities-awd-home-delivered-meal-program

SNAP! Benefits for Adults with Disabilities:https://www.specialneedsalliance.org/the-voice/snap-food-assistance-for-persons-with-disabilities-2/


List of Grocery Delivery that accepts EBT: https://blog.cheapism.com/where-you-can-order-groceries-online-ebt-card/

Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith has part of the chronic illness community for the past 7 years. After getting sick fresh out of college her life changed drastically. Samantha found passion in helping others and in running, even combining the two. She is President of G-PACT, a non-profit supporting the digestive tract paralysis community. Samantha has lobbied congress, spoken at conferences, published articles, and advocated for better healthcare. In 2020, she became part of the Patients Rising staff as a coordinator of the Patients Rising Concierge program.

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