To the Editor:
As Governor Le Page has declared September “Hunger Action” month, this seems a good time for all Mainers to consider the challenges that lie ahead for many of our older friends and neighbors as we head toward winter.
In a recently published report, AARP Foundation reveals that hunger among older Americans has jumped nearly 80 percent in just 10 years. It’s a shocking fact that of the 50 million Americans presently at risk of hunger across the country, 9 million are age 50 and older.
Unfortunately, the statistics for Maine are also shocking. In each of the categories measured in the report, Maine fared very poorly when compared to other New England states. In some cases, Maine had the worst statistics for the entire Northeast region.
The study also reveals that individuals between the ages of 50 and 60 who go hungry are almost twice as likely to be diabetic. They are also five times more likely to suffer from depression, and they are more likely to be in only poor to fair health.
Clearly, what is known as “food insecurity” can lead to serious health consequences for older adults.
I sincerely hope that our state representatives will work closely together in the spirit of bipartisanship to bring common sense solutions to this alarming problem.
Dr. Erica Magnus
AARP Outreach Volunteer