Older and hungry: Food calls from seniors way up

Since COVID-19, one in three requests to 2-1-1 from older adults is for food assistance. Before COVID, it was 1 in 5. We examined requests for utility payment assistance, healthcare, household items, rent assistance and food before and after COVID, in six age categories: ≤29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70+. The proportion of requests for each type of need did not differ from pre- to post-COVID for any group except oldest. Among those 70 and older, the number of overall requests to 2-1-1s increased modestly – by 37% – from pre- to post-COVID. But food requests were up 414%. Top post-COVID food requests among those 70+ were food pantries (52% of total) and home delivered meals (26%). The chart combines all age groups younger than 70 vs. those 70+. Mouse over each chart segment to see the number of requests for that need category pre- and post-COVID. Pre-COVID period is January 1 – March 11, 2020 and post-COVID is March 12 – May 10. Only 2-1-1s that gather caller age were included: AL, AR, CT, HI, IA, NE, NJ, PA, WA, WY, and parts of FL, IL, KY, NY and OH.

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