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Food Security Among Older Adults: Research

AARP Foundation Food Security Among Older Adults

Our Commitment 

AARP Foundation is committed to better understanding food insecurity and nutrition insecurity among older adults and identifying ways to address them. Our purpose is to make sure all older adults have access to “sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

The following research reports were either commissioned or supported by AARP Foundation as part of our commitment to improving food and nutrition security.

Research Reports

Increasing Older Adults’ Access to SNAP (overview): According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, just 29% of adults over age 60 who are eligible for SNAP participate in the program. AARP Foundation collaborated with Social Policy Research Associates to learn more.

Based on interviews with nearly 200 older adults, this series of issue briefs introduces profiles of people who are eligible for SNAP and identifies solutions to make it easier for them to enroll in the program.

Issue Briefs

Increasing Older Adult Access to SNAP

This brief highlights the complex journey that older adults experience when applying for and enrolling in SNAP, including the major barriers and solutions that improve access along the way. 

Opportunities to Improve Access to SNAP for Isolated Older Adults

This issue brief illustrates how social isolation among older adults with low income can make it more challenging for them to achieve food security and access SNAP.

Together, Multiple Programs Can Meet Older Adults’ Nutritional Needs

This issue brief illustrates how older adults experiencing food insecurity often combine SNAP with multiple nutrition programs to better meet their food and nutrition needs.

Opportunities to Improve Online Access to SNAP for Older Adults

This issue brief illustrates the challenges that many older adults with low income face in gaining access to benefits online. It addresses digital literacy, access to broadband internet, and the increasing prevalence of connecting online to SNAP.

People Profiles

Nyla: Caring for Her Granddaughter

Nyla's brief highlights the complex journey that older adults experience when applying for and enrolling in SNAP, including the major barriers and solutions that improve access along the way. 

 

Sally: Living in Social Isolation

Sally's brief highlights the complex journey that older adults experience when applying for and enrolling in SNAP, including the major barriers and solutions that improve access along the way. 

Sandra: Living with Cognitive Difficulties

Sandra's brief highlights the complex journey that older adults experience when applying for and enrolling in SNAP, including the major barriers and solutions that improve access along the way. 

Recently Released Research Reports

Together, Multiple Programs Can Meet Older Adults' Nutritional Needs

In 2018 and 2019, we interviewed nearly 200 low-income older adults to learn more about their experiences with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Boosted Food Assistance

Results from a survey of older adults SNAP participants reveal pandemic-related benefit increases helped many but inequities persist.

SNAP Access: Barriers and Opportunities for Older Adults

This report describes barriers older adults experience and the state waivers and program changes that may improve access to the program.

Food Security Research

How the Elderly Simplified Application Project (ESAP) Affects Food Security

Results from a study of older adults who received SNAP through an ESAP application underscore the importance of the benefit amount.

Baby Boomers and Beyond: Facing Hunger after 50

This report highlights the circumstances of adults over 50 who receive charitable food assistance through the Feeding America network of food banks.

Envisioning a New Future for Congregate Meals

Despite the pandemic’s challenges, congregate meal programs found ways not only to continue but also in many cases to grow their services. 

Nutrition Security Research

Healthy Aging-Nutrition Matters: Start Early and Screen Often

Nutrition is crucial for healthy aging and can prevent, slow the progression of, and in some cases treat conditions associated with aging.

Nutrition Over 50: A Special Report on Low-Income Adults Over 50

This study explores how older adults with low income think about their nutrition and health, and what motivates them to take action and make changes.

AARP Resources

Asian doctor, mature African-American patient, digital tablet, meeting, Public Policy Institute, Issues, Health

AARP Public Policy Institute Research

Health Research includes topics such as SNAP and SNAP access during the pandemic.

 

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Contact Jackie Budilov, Program Manager, at jbudilov@aarp.org

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