How can we help America's elderly?
There are millions of senior citizens dealing with hunger in American alone. In this video, HealthMaker and Meals on Wheels CEO, Ellie Hollander, talks about the plight of hunger among this population and why it must be addressed.
[SOOTHING MUSIC] Well, we like to say that Meals on Wheels is more than just a meal. In fact, what I think makes Meals on Wheels
stand out versus other alternatives to getting meals are, it's not just a daily delivery of a nutritious meal
but it's a social connection. It's a friendly visit. It's a safety check. And I think it's that sort of bundle of care
that is provided through Meals on Wheels that really makes the difference. Because for many of the seniors that we serve, it is the only visit they will get
from a person, the only social connection they'll have in a day. [UPBEAT MUSIC]
[SOOTHING MUSIC] It's an interesting organization, in that it's made up of member programs, which are the Senior Nutrition Programs in the field in the communities, that
actually go out and deliver meals to homebound and hungry seniors. So our organization provides an opportunity for them
to amplify their voice, to raise awareness about the issue of senior hunger in America, to try to provide resources so that they
can do their jobs better, to provide thought leadership, and conduct research, so that we better understand the issue that we're trying to address.
I can't believe in the richest country of the world, we have the issue that we have with senior hunger. 8.3 million seniors struggle with hunger today.
That's 1 in 7. And the problem is dire and it's just getting worse.
And we should be able to solve this issue. We have the infrastructure in place, with local programs that have the trust
and the social connections to be able to go into folks homes and help them prepare or deliver a nutritious meal,
but we simply don't have the financial resources. The alternative is that people end up going to hospitals when they don't need to,
and ending up hospitalized, or in long term care facilities, which are far more costly for Medicaid
and Medicare than it would be simply to provide a meal. So for a small investment in Meals on Wheels,
we will save exorbitant costs in terms of health care and reducing Medicaid, Medicare, and nursing home expenses.
It's a no-brainer. We need to provide a voice for our homebound and hungry seniors who don't have the ability to march on Washington
and say, don't forget about me. I'm here, and I need your help. I was here for you. Would you be here for me?
Regardless of whether you're a senior or not, there are many people who are hungry and we're not even scratching the surface. My only concern is, as a representative of the Meals
on Wheels association, is that we cannot declare victory yet if there are only 2.5 million seniors that we're serving
today, and we know that there's a need of a minimum of 8.3 Million. We haven't declared victory.
I don't feel we've solved our mission, we've addressed our mission, until we recognize that we need to do something to focus on that group.
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