Nearly one in every six seniors in America faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished. This applies to those who aren’t sure where their next meal is coming from and those who don’t have access to the healthiest possible food options. The issue is severe enough that the AARP reports that seniors face a healthcare bill of more than $130 billion every year due to medical issues stemming from senior hunger.
Senior hunger is an expansive issue that requires an understanding of exactly what constitutes a senior being “hungry,” the issues that stem from senior hunger, and how seniors who are hungry can be helped.
To understand the concept of seniors being hungry, you must understand what it means to be “food insecure.” When you are food insecure, it means that there is “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways,” as defined by a study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Essentially, it means that you aren’t receiving and/or don’t have access to the necessary foods and nutrients to help sustain your life.
The concept of being “hungry” is a state-of-mind, meaning that there is a physical aspect to the lack of food. Attending to an area where people are hungry and basically starving is a much more immediate and severe problem to solve. Being food insecure, on the other hand, helps include people who may have enough food and don’t technically live consistently in hunger, but the food they are eating—usually in large amounts—isn’t up to nutritional and dietary standards.
In 2006, the USDA broke down food insecurity into two categories to help determine how food insecure someone is: 13%Of Households In America Are Food Insecure
Low Food Security
While there may not be an overall reduction in how much food someone is intaking, there may be a lower quality and variety of your diet. For instance, there may be reduced amounts of fresh vegetables and meats, but that may be replaced with fast food. In this category, people don’t miss many meals, but the type of meals that are being eaten diminish in quality.
Very Low Food Security
When you have very low food security, your health and ability to correct it with healthy food is in a dire situation. To be assigned this categorization, the USDA says there must be “multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake,” meaning you’re often missing meals and not eating enough to survive.
photography sponsored by Lyd&MO Photography
from Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center
Grant Program Targets Barriers Faced by Underserved Populations
July 17, 2017 – Los Angeles, CA – Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center (LAMC) announced that it will award grants totaling nearly $500,000 to non-profit organizations that serve individuals living in LAMC’s geographic service area, including Boyle Heights, Burbank, Echo Park, Glendale, Metro Los Angeles, and Pasadena. After a competitive application process, 51 organizations were selected to receive grants ranging from $5,000 – $24,000 each, to help fund programs that provide health care access to the uninsured or working poor, health services for pregnant and parenting teens in foster care, mental health care for homeless and trafficked youth, and more.
LAMC’s grant funding is informed by Kaiser Permanente’s Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). Grants are awarded to organizations in one of four community health need categories: Access to Health Care, Behavioral Health, HIV/AIDS and STI prevention, and Obesity prevention.
The need for services to support the homeless is especially high in LAMC’s surrounding communities. According to the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count, the largest number of homeless individuals are located in L.A. County Service Planning Area 4, which lies within LAMC’s service area.
Communities like Hollywood have experienced a significant impact because they lack the infrastructure that exists in other areas to provide support services to homeless individuals.
“The Center at Blessed Sacrament is deeply committed to ending chronic homelessness and isolation in Hollywood,” says Nathan Sheets, executive director, The Center at Blessed Sacrament in Hollywood. “We are very excited to receive this grant, which will allow us to work in collaboration with the Los Angeles Police Department as part of the solution to end homelessness, and to connect our neighbors who are most in need to resources such as housing and a medical home.”
Programs supported by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit help families receive primary care, dental and mental health care, teach people how to manage chronic diseases, promote preventive care, provide healthy eating and active living education, and support basic needs such as employment training, food security, housing and transportation.
“Without access to treatment, children with mental disorders can have problems at home and in school, which can continue into adulthood,” explains Anita Saunders, PhD, LCSW, president, Los Angeles Child Development Center. “That is why we are so grateful for the generous support from partners like Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, which helps us continue providing free trauma-informed mental health counseling services to children who could otherwise not afford them.” -more
Through its grant program, Kaiser Permanente is committed to eliminating the many barriers that prevent community residents from achieving good health.
“Improving the health of the communities we serve has always been a central part of our social mission,” says Mario Ceballos, community benefit health manager, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center. “We are pleased to invest in resources that increase access to health care and critical services for our underserved populations. By working together with like-minded partners, we can have a lasting impact in promoting healthy, thriving communities.”
The 2017 LAMC grantees are:
- A Community of Friends
- A Place Called Home
- AAA Comprehensive Healthcare
- Academia Avance Charter School/Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services
- AIDS Project Los Angeles
- Amanecer Community Counseling Service
- Anderson Munger Family YMCA
- Being Alive People with HIV/AIDS Action Coalition
- Boys & Girls Club of Burbank and Greater East Valley
- Boys & Girls Club of Hollywood
- Burbank Community YMCA
- CARECEN – Central American Community Center
- Center for the Pacific Asian Family
- City of Glendale, Community Services and Parks Department
- Covenant House California
- El Centro Del Pueblo
- Esperanza Community Housing Corporation
- Five Acres
- Foothill Family Service
- Foothill Unity Center
- Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County
- Glendale Community Free Health Clinic
- Hollywood Community Housing Corporation
- Hollywood Police Activities League (Hollywood PAL)
- InnerCity Struggle
- Kids’ Community Clinic of Burbank
- L.A. Kitchen
- Latino Equality Alliance
- Legacy LA
- Los Angeles Child Development Center
- Los Angeles Christian Health Centers
- Los Angeles LGBT Center
- Maternal and Child Health Access
- Southern California Education Fund
- St. Anne’s
- St. Francis Center
- Stuart M. Ketchum Downtown YMCA
- Taking the Reins
- The Center at Blessed Sacrament
- The Salvation Army
- The Wall – Las Memorias
- The Wellness Center at the Historic General Hospital
- Union Station Homeless Services
- Via Care Community Health Center
- VIP Community Mental Health Center, Inc.
- Weingart Center Association
- YMCA – Hollywood Wilshire
- Youth Policy Institute
- YWCA Pasadena – Foothill Valley
For information about Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, please visit www.kp.org/losangeles. To learn more about Kaiser Permanente Southern California Community Benefit, visit www.community.kp.org.
About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.