Senior Hunger Threat Remains Higher than Pre-Recession Levels

Food insecurity on the rise among seniors.
Food insecurity is on the rise among seniors.

The number of senior citizens considered food insecure increased by 49 percent between 2007 and 2012 according to a study from The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH).  Using the Three Core Food Security Module to measure risk, study authors Dr. James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky and Dr. Craig G. Gundersen of the University of Illinois found that over 9 million American senior citizens were food insecure, and threat of hunger rates for all senior groups (ages 60 to 69, 70 to 79, and 80+) were higher in 2012 than 2007, even though the recession had ended. The majority of seniors facing threat of hunger due to food insecurity were white with incomes above the poverty line, but both African American and Hispanic seniors were at a higher risk of hunger than whites. Over one-third (35%) had at least one grandchild living with them.

The State of Senior Hunger in America 2012: An Annual Report also ranks states by senior hunger threat, with Arkansas (25.44), Louisiana (23.56), and Mississippi (22.67) having the highest rates in the nation. In 2012, Pennsylvania had a rate of 12.93, down approximately 15 percent from 2011. The NFESH has numerous reports on the threat and consequences of senior hunger at their website.

Food insecurity among seniors may be related to income, neighborhood safety and walkability, and individual physical and mental health, but regardless of the reasons why, the consequences are poor health and a deficit of needed nutrients.  As the Baby Boomers age, it’s likely that we will hear more about senior hunger as a top public health issue.

 

 

Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)

The Non-Predictive, Un-Trend Post for 2014

nrm2014
What will 2014 mean for nonprofits?

 

A perfect tweet to read today. It captures the exact reason why my post on nonprofit trends for 2014 has languished in USB limbo for over 2 weeks: there’s nothing new there.

So, rather than bore us all with a rehash of nonprofit issues and their related buzzwords, I’d rather share a few areas I’ll still be watching in 2014 from the experts who write about them:

Mobile. Yes, again.  Again and always. And by now nonprofits should have integrated mobile technology (or at least seriously discussed the logistics of doing so) into their daily operations/service delivery.

Take care of your Boomers. They are still the largest and most varied group of givers. According to Blackbaud, Boomers prioritize local social service organizations and places of worship for their donations and give through multiple channels.  Carolyn Appleton sees this group as continuing to lead in their philanthropic roles in2014, including in the area of planned giving. Hint hint, planned giving has seen an increase in mobile activity.

Data, Privacy and Transparency. Nearly anything Lucy Bernholz writes is among the best you will find on the topic.   Interested in predictions for 2014? Start here.

Although not exclusively a nonprofit issue, Hack your (Professional) Lack. Sitting in a few of the sessions at Pittsburgh Podcamp 8, I realized that I had been so busy connecting with potential  clients and starting new projects in 2012 – 2013 that I had neglected to keep up with the new apps, products, and basic shortcuts that might make running my own shop easier.  I’ll be sure to make the time for my own professional development going forward, absent my go-to responses that it’s “a full-time staff of me, myself and I” *grimace* or “blah, blah, work-family boundarieeees” and every other excuse in the bucket.

What are your predictions for nonprofits in 2014?  What lack might you hack this year? 

 

 

Photo Credit: M. Puzzanchera (Own Work) (CC By-NC-ND 3.0)

Despite their Numbers, Little Research on Abuse of Older Adults

The National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA) recently tweeted a picture to remind that reconnecting with family during Thanksgiving weekend is not just a sentimental tradition, but a responsibility we have to our older relatives.  Although senior citizens make up a growing segment of society (the U.S. Census Bureau projects that about 20 percent of residents of the United States will be 65 years and older in 2030) there is not a body of research or a high-profile public service campaign focused on elder abuse and neglect.

Despite involving a highly vulnerable population, the issue of elder abuse hardly makes for gripping headlines, nor is it the subject of tear-jerking television commercials imploring people to not turn away from the difficult images of neglected senior citizens.  According to the report, Understanding Elder Abuse: New directions for developing theories of elder abuse occurring in domestic settings by Shelly L. Jackson and Thomas L. Hafemeister, the issue lacks the research funding and the backing of high profile organizations required to launch it to the forefront of public consciousness. Even the very definition of the word “elderly” is a source of debate as baby boomers don’t want to be reminded that they are getting older.

Without a powerful advocacy group or much data to plan and support a call to action, it is difficult to communicate the urgency of the problem to people bombarded near-daily with causes and foundations looking for more than just a sad story (this issue is not limited to interpersonal violence, there is a high-stakes battle for funding dollars among diseases).  Also, as Jackson and Hafemeister discuss, there is not a widely accepted theory that explains the incidence of elder abuse and neglect.  Several interpersonal explanations or socio-cultural approaches can be used to examine the issue,  but there is not one prominent school of thought  that illuminates what limited data are collected on the issue. Another factor that complicates presentation of the issue, is that  there are several kinds of abuse and neglect and not all are violent (fraud, theft, self-neglect) or always intentional (neglect, isolation).  The authors also point out that the victim of abuse and the relationship between abusing/neglectful caregiver and victim  are not closely examined (not to in anyway blame a victim, but relationship dynamics – and the majority of elder caregivers are family members – are fraught with various factors one theory may not  adequately capture).

Perhaps the reality of a projected 88.5 million adults over age 65 living in America in 2050 has prompted the need to explore the issue, as research collaborations have been formed through the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA) to provide insight into this complex issue, identify evidence-based practices and guide policy formation.  To learn more about protecting the elderly at home or in care facilities, resources for caregivers, and the signs of abuse or neglect visit the FAQ page at NECA or the NAPSA  website.

 

 

Report Citations:

Vincent, Grayson K. and Victoria A. Velkoff, 2010, THE NEXT FOUR DECADES, The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050, Current Population Reports, P25-1138, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC.

Jackson, Shelly L. and  Thomas L. Hafemeister, 2013, Understanding Elder Abuse: New directions for developing theories of elder abuse occurring in domestic settings,  National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC.

It is Official – Everybody’s Giving Online

Online giving is considered the number one method of donating to charity mainly due to the popularity of mobile fundraising (and social media) among Millenials, but now it appears that all generations are donating from their keyboards.

Over half (57 percent) of donors give online,  an approximately10 percent increase from 2010 data, according to a recent donor survey undertaken by Dunham+Company. While the giving patterns of persons under age 40 have not changed significantly, there was an increase among the over-40 set, notably among  Baby Boomers and those over age 65. The proportion of women who now give online also increased (to 64 percent from approximately 50 percent) since the last survey.

Dunham+Company’s  research briefs on fundraising and development are available at their website.