HOW COULD OLDER PEOPLE, IN OKLAHOMA, BE STARVING WHEN THEY GET A SOCIAL SECURITY CHECK EVERY SINGLE MONTH?
Nearly four million seniors are now malnourished in the United States. Oklahoma ranks as one of the ten states, in the nation, for senior hunger.What we eat affects our health.
Enough healthy food for adequate nutrition is important, in order to reduce the rates of obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases and the accompanying skyrocketing healthcare costs.
The health of our older population is suffering, as many Oklahoma seniors skip meals, in order to purchase their medication.
While there is no minimum Social Security benefit amount (one could actually receive a Social Security check for as little as $1.00) one in three Oklahomans rely on Social Security, for their total income. Yet, at the death of a spouse one Social Security benefit goes away.
And, a person receiving the average Social Security benefit does not qualify for food assistance, from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), even though they may not have enough to eat, after paying their Medicare insurance, rent, utilities, medicine co-pays. They are left alone to figure out how they can eat, if they pay their other bills.
Among the most pronounced increases for food insecurity were the widowed, one of the fastest growing demographic in the United States. (40% of women in Oklahoma, over the age of 65, are widowed and nearly 70% of them live alone.) The number of senior women living in extreme poverty jumped by 18 percent, from 2011 to 2012.
The grief of the widowed may be compounded by lack of money. The cost of the loved ones funeral, which in 2015 averages $12,000 or more can be devastating for the widowed when there is no life insurance or other income to help with the expense. Many have depleted their savings, due to the low interest rates they were receiving, which left them no choice but to use the principal.
Many factors, not just poverty, contribute to hunger, such as limited mobility, poor health, lack of transportation, living in a “food desert”, isolation, or dental problems, making it extremely uncomfortable to eat. (And, Medicare in Oklahoma does NOT cover dental.) Others, embarrassed and ashamed by their situation, do not want anyone to know.
- Among the most pronounced increases for food insecurity….. Actually, the majority are white and have incomes above the poverty line.
- It is true that Medicare does not pay for dental care in Oklahoma. Nor, hearing aids or glasses.
- Also true that many Oklahoma seniors skip meals in order to purchase the medication that needs to be taken with food, to assure the effectiveness. There are others who resort to using credit cards with high interest or payday loans with Annual Percent Rates of 391% or higher. Oklahoma is No. 1 in Payday Loan Usage – NPR State Impact AND If a credit card company does not receive the minimum payment by the due date they may add a late fee of $35 and the APR may be increased to the variable penalty of 29.99%! This puts them further in debt.
WILL YOU SPEAK UP FOR THE WIDOWED?
Facebook: A Heart for the Widowed