Myths about SNAP can be one factor that affects a person’s health outcomes. To stay healthy and active, seniors need to know the resources that are available that help fight against poor nutrition.
Food insecurity can cause a number of negative effects on a person’s quality of life.
Without access to nutritious foods, seniors are at risk of:
Longer recovery periods after illness or injury. Having access to an adequate amount of food and a balanced diet makes it easier to recover from surgery, sickness, and wounds.
Increased chronic conditions. When a person is food insecure, they have lower nutrient intake and are more likely to experience chronic conditions. Poor nutrition and stress can progress chronic conditions and make them more difficult to manage.
Higher risk of falls. Poor nutrition can affect muscle mass, bone density, and balance. These factors can increase risk of falls and decrease a senior’s ability to live independently.
A healthy, balanced diet helps seniors build the strength they need to take care of themselves at home and maintain their normal activities of daily living.
SNAP improves senior health outcomes
So, how can seniors improve their health through nutritious eating?
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is a great way for older adults to reduce food insecurity and enhance their health. SNAP is the country’s largest federal nutrition program to help low-income individuals and families.
The SNAP program aims to improve food security and nutrition among low-income households. SNAP is funded by the National Council on Aging.
Currently, over 4.8 million low-income adults over the age of 60 participate in SNAP. Collectively, they receive an average of $106 per month to help access food, reducing overall food insecurity by at least 30%.
Though SNAP is making a huge dent in preventing poor nutrition in older adults, many are missing out on the benefits they are entitled to. Only two out of five seniors who are eligible for assistance are enrolled in SNAP.
To be sure they are receiving benefits they qualify for, seniors should check their eligibility through their county’s Department of Job and Family Services. Individuals can call 1-844-640-OHIO to screen in for SNAP and get started with their benefits.
5 Myths about SNAP
While SNAP can be a hugely beneficial resource for many older Americans, there are some negative stereotypes surrounding receiving food assistance. To help break the stigma of SNAP, here are five myths about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
#1: It is a charity
SNAP is not a charity. Like Social Security and Medicare, SNAP is a benefit available to eligible citizens. You pay into it so that it is there when you need it.
#2: It is embarrassing
SNAP can be used discreetly, and it is likely that other shoppers will not notice you are using it. The old “food stamps” no longer exist. Instead, your benefits are loaded automatically onto a debit card. You use the card at participating grocery stores and farmers’ markets just like any other bank card on food items.
#3: SNAP is bad for the economy
On the contrary, SNAP is actually good for the economy! When SNAP dollars are spent at local stores, you support local retailers and help create jobs.
#4: There are not enough benefits for everyone
Enrolling in SNAP does not prevent another eligible person from getting benefits. You will never be taking away benefits from another person by enrolling.
#5: Your income prevents you from getting an acceptable amount of benefits
Your income is not the only factor that determines your benefit amount. Expenses, such as your shelter costs, utilities, medical expenses, and others, are included in the calculation of your SNAP benefits.
How do you sign up for SNAP?
Are you ready to check your eligibility for the SNAP program? Contact your county’s Department of Job and Family Services to get started.
The easiest way to get enrolled is by calling 1-844-640-OHIO. This number will direct you to the correct Job and Family Services office. Follow the voice prompts and speak to a caseworker to get signed up without having to physically go to a Job and Family Services location.
Additional nutrition assistance
Could you or someone you know benefit from home-delivered meals? Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio is a nutritious home meal delivery service that brings healthy meals right to your door. Meals on Wheels even caters to special dietary needs for those with chronic conditions.
Services are available in Summit, Stark, and Wayne Counties (Ohio). Contact Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio today to learn more at 330-515-5605, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Meals on Wheels.