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Elderly poverty Essay

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By 2050, the number of elderly people will be high (aged 65 and above) 20 percent of the population worldwide. Given the pressure on the demand for public services such as pensions, health services and housing facilities. Elderly poverty is both a social and a financial problem. Poverty rates among the elderly tend to be highest among women, above all widows over the age of 75. This is mainly due to pension allowances that have traditionally been associated with employment history.

In 2000, it was estimated that more than a third of Ireland’s elderly population was living in poverty.

Ireland has been criticized for failing to protect its most vulnerable citizens, the elderly. Despite having a state pension scheme for the vulnerable group, there is still a big gap. Poverty rates among the elderly people have changed over the time and this is likely to project (Thomas, 1995). Among the problems faced by the elderly include, food insecurity and poor nutrition.

Food insecurity it is the insufficiency in the quality of food intake due to lack of resources which mainly focuses on inaccessibility and unavailable of resources among the elderly as a result of their impairment and health problems.

This study reveals that food insecurity is another risk factor associated with poorer nutritional and health status among older persons. Food insecurity is another problem facing elderly people. It has an effect on health and quality nutritional status. Further, it can also bring physical, emotional and economic burdens to the elderly persons themselves.

Hence, understanding the cost of food insecurity is the major phenomena in addressing food related issues in elderly persons and providing information to better their nutrition and health services for an ever-increasing and diverse older population. However, nutritional status and consequences of food insecurity mainly focuses on the younger, the adult, women and children. The consequences include decreased nutritional eating habits, inadequate food supply, impairment and an increase in body weight forgetting about the elderly people at large.

Food insecurity among elderly persons requires consideration of various determinants of nutritional and health status significant to a particular age group. Concerning food insecurity among the elderly there is the need for investment in long term self-sufficiency projects, supportive policy systems to address issues about the right to food and participation of government, community and other institutions to ensure food security (Laurence, 1990) Health is another issue facing the elderly living in poverty because of the limited incomes, educational achievements and no health insurance facilities.

For instance the case of elderly Hispanic who depend on the assistance from the relatives and supplemental security incomes to cope with their deteriorating health issues. Increasing poverty, the socio-demographic profile of the elderly population is rapidly changing, especially with the weakening of extended family ties and lineage-based support systems. Usually, the extended family has been the main source of livelihood support for the elderly in sub-Saharan Africa, taking care of their parents when they are not economically dynamic.

With the increase in poverty and health related issues like HIV/AIDS epidemic on the elderly and on the social background in Africa and the death of young people leaves the elderly people in charge. Elderly persons play a key role not only in providing care for persons with HIV/AIDS but also in caring for AIDS orphans which effects them health wise because they do not have enough energy to run up and down looking for food, income to care for the sick. For illustration, in Kenya the elderly people were the main care-givers for people infected with HIV/AIDS and also take care of the orphans.

Elderly people also face the problem of accessibility. Since, most of them live places inaccessible to the basic facilities like the health care, incase they are sick access them is very hard and some of the end up not getting to this services because they are weak. Housing; elderly people is largely increasing as a result of poverty and inadequate affordable housing. By housing I mean access to clean and safe water, toilet facilities and waste collection facilities.

Among the households especially headed by the elderly there are a few chances of them affording decent house even though they receive assistance like 37 percent of the elderly in America but this is not enough. (Thomas 1995). Every human being needs a range of basic necessities irrespective of age. While poverty exists everywhere, it is most harsh in developing countries, where more than one person in five lives on less than one dollar per day. Reducing poverty among the vulnerable people is an international goal of development and the many international organizations working towards this initiative.

Strategies on how to reduce poverty are, however as many as the causes of poverty. For example the World Bank’s anti-poverty plan, for example, depends heavily on reducing poverty though the promotion of economic growth. We also have the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), that campaign for the reduction of severe poverty among the vulnerable groups


Thomas, A. (1995). Old and homeless: an overview of current practice, Westport: Greenwood publishing group. Laurence, E. (1990). Inner city poverty in the United States, New York: National Academies Press.

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