Not a National Issue, a Sarasota and Florida issue
While Sarasota is known for its affluent, cultural lifestyle and beach setting, hundreds of needy seniors, veterans, handicapped and even children in our community are homebound and unable to prepare a nutritious meal.
According to Meals on Wheels Florida Fact Sheet too many seniors in Florida are left behind, alone and hungry. And all of these numbers are expected to increase as seniors live longer.
Growing Gap Between Seniors in Need and Funding
Every month, Meals on Wheels of Sarasota increases our new client roster by 35-50 people. Every month our attrition rate decreases as seniors live longer and continue to need our services. Like the trend nationally and seen here locally, a senior population increasingly threatened by hunger and community, state and federal funding failing to keep pace, the gap between those in need and those being served continues to widen.
Senior Isolation and Hunger
Even the most independent among us, if fortunate to live long enough, may experience a decline in mobility or health that can strip away our independence and diminish the quality of our lives. Great advances in medicine have extended our average life expectancy to a record high of 78.7 years. Living longer means more years spent in the struggles that accompany old age. Add to that the increase in geographic mobility of our families and the result is millions of seniors left behind, hungry and alone.
The Great Cost of Living Longer
While we all celebrate the increase in lifespan, maintaining health while aging comes at a price. Without support for programs like Meals on Wheels, millions of seniors are forced to prematurely trade their homes for nursing facilities. We can provide a senior Meals on Wheels for an entire year for roughly the same cost as spending one day in the hospital or ten days in a nursing home. Meals on Wheels saves us all billions of dollars in unnecessary Medicaid and Medicare expenses every year - tax dollars that can be spent in much better ways.