Study shows hunger, food insecurity issues increase for seniors

An increase in food prices is affecting half of all surveyed 50-plus respondents, according to a recent study

The majority of adults at or over the age of 50 believe senior hunger is problematic and view senior hunger as a problem that has increased in the last year, according to the Hunger Trends study released by the AARP Foundation.

“When asked how increasing grocery prices have affected how they shop for food, about half of adults 50-plus report spending more money and buying cheaper brands,” the results state. “And when tradeoffs are needed to pay for food, transportation expenses are the ones most commonly reduced by midlife and older adults, followed closely by utilities.”

With increasing costs of living due to historic levels of inflation, the increase in food prices is affecting half of all surveyed 50-plus respondents, according to the study. The percentage of respondents who said that prices have never impacted their ability to access food dropped notably between February and December 2022.

“Rising food prices are the top factor affecting midlife and older adults’ ability to access food,” the study states. “Along with rising food prices, low wages, physical disability, unemployment, and travel, challenges are more likely to negatively affect access to food among adults 50–64 than among those 65 and older.”

The impact of inflation and rising living costs has been a consistent theme in reverse mortgage industry messaging to prospective borrowers in recent years. While Social Security benefits have increased for the past two years, the larger benefit checks were outpaced by inflation in 2022. Some older workers also noted that higher living costs will lead them to delay retirement plans.

Inflation has also led to an increase in the adoption of reverse mortgage and equity release products in places like New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The 2022 Hunger Trends study was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago on behalf of AARP, soliciting American adults at or over the age of 50 through the NORC AmeriSpeak Omnibus. A total of 4,350 responses were recorded at regular intervals between February and December of 2022.

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