One out of every five senior citizens in New Mexico isn’t getting enough to eat, according to a report from United Health Foundation. New Mexico ranks 49th in the nation for food insecurity.
The America’s Health Ranking Senior Report looks at general health and food insecurity, among other issues facing the aging population.
Lynn Anker Unnever, with New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Term Services Department says state funding for senior services is inching up to pre-recession levels. But, she says, seniors get less in nutrition assistance than other age groups like children, and they’re often the providers for other family members.
“There are definitely a lot of extended families in New Mexico – grandparents raising grand children and the like, and I suspect if folks have a choice between feeding a grandchild and feeding themselves, they’re going to feed the grandchild,” says Anker Unnever.
Anker-Unnever says hunger is prevalent in our state, and is tied with the poverty rates.
Fifteen percent of the New Mexico’s seniors live in poverty, and the rural nature of the state makes it hard for many seniors to access grocery stores. Anker Unnever notes the state has been working with the Roadrunner Food Bank to deliver groceries to seniors. The Aging and Long-Term Services Department also provides transportation services for food shopping, but funding restraints limit those trips to once a month.