West Chicago Voice - About Us : The voice of West Chicago, Illinois - digital local news - for locals by locals .

Helping Our Senior Citizens In The Face Of Record-High Inflation

Sharing is Caring, WeGo!

Helping Our Seniors

Nutrition directly impacts senior citizens’ physical and overall well-being. It is an important factor in a senior citizens’ health. In the face of rising prices, access to healthy food for seniors can be limited.

The Associated Press reports that almost every country in the world is experiencing record levels of inflation. Monthly inflation in the U.S. peaked at more than nine percent in June 2022. Low interest rates, and supply chain constraints fueled by the war in Ukraine and COVID-19 contributed to the initial surge in inflation, but domestic events such as the bird flu outbreak, and rental price hikes have helped to keep numbers high. A change in Federal Reserve monetary policy has attempted to curb the impacts of inflation by raising interest rates, but the extent to which this has helped is debated by economists. Compared to last year at this time the inflation rate had more than halved, but core inflation had been holding relatively steady. – Associated Press

These record-high inflation rates in the US in 2023 have had a significant impact on senior citizens, particularly those on fixed incomes. With the cost of living increasing rapidly, many senior citizens find it increasingly difficult to afford basic necessities, including food. The rising prices mean that even on a tight budget, they are unable to purchase as much food or choose healthier options.

To alleviate some of the financial strain, the government has made efforts to address the issue. Social Security, which provides monthly income for retired individuals, has seen some adjustments to account for the higher prices of goods and services. The Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) has been introduced to ensure that social security benefits keep pace with inflation. This increase helps seniors have more purchasing power and maintain a certain standard of living. Additionally, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, has also recognized the impact of high food prices on senior citizens. Adjustments have been made to SNAP benefits to assist individuals in affording nutritious food despite the inflation rates. This aids in ensuring that seniors have access to adequate nourishment and can maintain a healthy diet.

While people of all ages are struggling, those over 65 often have an even harder time because they usually live on a fixed income, unable to increase their paychecks with overtime or bonuses.

To help residents stretch their food budgets during these financially trying times, The West Chicago Voice newspaper has been running two columns every week since its inception called Saving At The Register. The columns’ focus is couponing and deal stacking at Aldi, Dollar General, Walgreens, and Jewel-Osco. View this week’s deals HERE. 

Neighborhood Food Pantries, a local food pantry located at 123 Fremont Street, West Chicago is another resource for our aging population. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of neighbors by providing reliable access to nutritious food in welcoming environments through the generosity of volunteers, individuals, and community partnerships. The organization says more than 72,580 people in DuPage County don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many are ‘on the bubble,’ having to choose between paying the rent or feeding their families. Often we fill a one-time need for a family – allowing them to fix a car or cover unexpected medical expenses and still put food on the table. Since 1999 they have collaborated with local churches, businesses, and community groups to serve local families, coming together as a community to provide services to needy West Chicagoans. They also work with Districts 33 and 94 for their WeGo Together Community Market. For more information on receiving help from the food pantry, call 630-375-7185 or visit their website here.

Recent photo from The Dupage Senior Citizen Council Dance Party
Recent photo from The Dupage Senior Citizen Council Dance Party

DuPage County Senior Citizen Council (DSCC) is another way for seniors to receive a little hand-up with their  Meals on Wheels Program. DSCC is dedicated to helping seniors navigate through the daily challenges they face as they age. The council offers a variety of help for seniors from well-being checks to minor home repairs to helping seniors care for their pets, DSCC provides important services that help our seniors live independently- they are always looking for volunteers to help serve the growing senior population in DuPage County.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”  – Margaret Mead

The nonprofit industry as a whole is very inspiring and organizations worldwide are making a difference in the lives of many people and the communities in which they serve. My Grandma used to say, “Charity starts at home”,  and helping local senior citizens in DuPage County is a great way to give back, and keep your efforts local for those that need help. Most nonprofits would not be successful in pursuing their mission without the support of volunteers. Volunteering is at the heart of America and what we stand for.

DuPage Senior Citizen Council’s biggest program is the Home-Delivered Meal program, in which volunteers deliver nutritious meals to seniors in DuPage County.  Volunteers stop by one of their sites which are located throughout the county. From these sites, volunteers pick up the meals and head out to deliver to their route(s). These routes vary in terms of how long they take, depending on the volunteer or the route length.

Many seniors who live alone find it difficult to shop and prepare their own meals. Oftentimes, they will miss a meal just because it is too difficult of a task to do every day. That is where DSCC helps. Many seniors on a fixed income, while Inflationary pressures may be starting to ease, (Inflation was in 2022 8.3% compared to  higher prices throughout much of 2023 are still taking a toll on older adults, with a larger share of people are saying they felt their finances were worse off than a year before. Consumer inflation in November was still up 7.1% from a year earlier.

Our caterer prepares a wide variety of ready-to-eat, single-serving meals and then our team of staff and volunteers pack and deliver them to the homebound seniors.

About The Home-Delivered Meals

All of the meals that DSCC provides through the Meals on Wheels service are low salt and low cholesterol. We also provide vegetarian, diabetic, and pureed meals. The meals we provide are prepared under the guidance of a Registered Dietician to make sure that they meet the 1/3 Dietary Reference Intake established by the U.S. Government for adults 60 years old and over.

The average cost of preparing each meal by DSCC is approximately $8.00 to deliver and serve a single meal to a senior. Their major funding sources cover approximately $4 per meal leaving DSCC to raise the additional funds necessary to cover the costs of the meals and delivery. Seniors and their families are asked to donate as much as they feel they can afford to help reduce the cost gap. However, because many cannot afford to contribute, DSCC has to make up the cost, if you’re interested in supporting the meals with a donation, go HERE. Donations are deductible on your income taxes.

If you have a loved one who lives alone and wants to find out more about starting Home Meal Delivery (Meals on Wheels), please visit DSCC ‘s inquiry page. or to volunteer to deliver meals, Go HERE.

Leave a Reply