Did you know that April is Minority Health Month? Annually, this month is set aside for discussions on an array of health topics, needs, and concerns hoping to shine lights on the many disparities that still exist in the 21st Century. In the caregiving world, caregiver awareness lags other populations; mainly because of a knowledge deficit on available services and resources in the minority communities. However, I wanted to share the importance of knowing one community partner that can assist with hunger. I hope those reading this blog will consider using the information to augment the caregiving experiences.
As a caregiver, I know that the #1 priority is the protection and well-being of our care recipients. Hunger is a huge problem in minority populations. One community resource that caregivers must tap into is Meals on Wheels. It is a reality people of color experience food insecurity daily. Documented research has uncovered minority hunger rates are 2x the rate of non-Hispanic households. We also know that financial planning is not always the initial priority making the financial gap another reason for food insecurity. Many seniors go without to pay for shelter and medications. Considering Meals on Wheel programs in your community can assist to feed our vulnerable population, our minority seniors. Meals on Wheels Association of America provides nutrition to our older populations. This is a wonderful program, especially for seniors still living at home and concerns about using the stove for cooking. This program came in handy for me when I was exhausted from a day of caregiving duties and did not want to cook. Having an already prepared meal to provide to my mother was wonderful!
It is necessary to have a cultural perspective with nutrition as caregiver. It is all right to use cultural attitudes when it comes to feeding our seniors. Those special foods that make the culture the culture should continue. It is important to remain aware of dietary needs of our minority senior populations. Community support to decrease food disparities is necessary. I heard this quote: We eat to live, and not live to eat. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I encourage you to check on your community elders. First, for safety, and next for nutrition. If you have ever felt hunger, you would want no one to have that feeling. Let me encourage you to do your part!
Please and Thank you!