One out of every five senior citizens in New Mexico isn't getting enough to eat, according to a report from United Health Foundation. The America's Health Ranking Senior Report looks at this and other issues facing the aging population.
Lynn Anker Unnever is with New Mexico's Aging and Long-Term Services Department. She says state funding for senior services is inching up to pre-recession levels, but that seniors get less in nutrition assistance than other age groups like children, and they're often the providers for other family members.
"There are definitely a lot of extended families in New Mexico," Anker Unnever explains, "Grandparents raising grand children. I suspect if folks have a choice between feeding a grandchild and feeding themselves, they're going to feed the grandchild."
Fifteen percent of the New Mexico's seniors live in poverty, and the rural nature of the state makes it hard for many seniors to access grocery stores. Anker Unnever notes the state has been working with the Roadrunner Food Bank to deliver groceries to seniors. The Aging and Long-Term Services Department also provides transportation services for food shopping, but funding restraints limit those trips to once a month.