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Food Insecurity in Older Adults Living in Rural Oklahoma

Verkler, Tracie Lynn

Food insecurity is multifaceted and often exists among older adults with low income, living alone, less education, minority status or chronic illness. The purpose of this study is to use qualitative methodology to explore facilitators and barriers to food security for older adults living in rural Western Oklahoma. Fifteen older adults, 58 – 90 years of age, who reside in the counties of Kingfisher, Blaine or Logan were interviewed between Aug 1st and October 15. Main topics addressed during the interview included: 1) Patterns of obtaining food and meal preparation 2) Participant’s eating habits 3) Food insecurity risks, 4) Knowledge of and participation in food programs, 5) Health care access and 6) Outreach programs for Seniors. The data show food insecurity exists for older adults with comorbid health conditions including chronic illness and physical impairments. Moreover, food insecurity is present in individuals that are receiving supplemental food assistance. Seniors are at substantial risk for food insecurity if they live alone, lack transportation and have little familial or social capital.