Help a Hungry Senior Connect to SNAP during Hunger Action Month

Good nutrition can lead to a better quality of life for older adults


Vanessa Sink
Public Affairs Manager

Arlington, VA – Kathy is a 76-year-old independent woman. She owns her home and car, but she struggles to pay the bills and afford nutritious food each week. As a result, she lost 25 pounds in the last year. Luckily, she found help before her health suffered. A community organization helped Kathy apply for and receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Kathy quickly regained 10 pounds and feels better than she has in years.

There are many reasons older adults apply for SNAP: eating better, health, family, and financial security. Using SNAP to pay for nutritious food can make a huge impact on an older adult’s ability to manage a chronic condition and stay independent. During Hunger Action Month in September, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) encourages older adults and their caregivers to see if SNAP could help them.

Three in five eligible seniors do not participate in SNAP. While several factors contribute to the low participation rate, lack of understanding about the program is a significant barrier.

“For many older adults, mobility, technology, and the stigma attached to applying for SNAP create obstacles,” said Lura Barber, Director of NCOA Hunger Initiatives. “Talking to your loved ones and the older adults in your community about SNAP could inspire them and put us well on our way to eradicating senior hunger.”

Based on its Senior SNAP Enrollment Initiative, NCOA has developed a Seniors & SNAP Best Practices Handbook that outlines effective ways community-based organizations can find and enroll eligible seniors into SNAP. The handbook is available to download at

“Working together, we can help the older adults we care about find if they are eligible for benefits to afford nutritious food,” said Barber. “Encourage them to do it, not just for their health, but for all of the ways better nutrition will enrich their lives.”

To find your state’s SNAP application, please visit To help spread the word about seniors and SNAP during Hunger Action Month in September, please use the hashtag #getSNAP on social media.

About NCOA

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a respected national leader and trusted partner to help people aged 60+ meet the challenges of aging. Our mission is to improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. Through innovative community programs and services, online help, and advocacy, NCOA is partnering with nonprofit organizations, government, and business to improve the health and economic security of 10 million older adults by 2020. Learn more at and @NCOAging

About NCOA’s Senior Hunger Initiative

NCOA’s Senior Hunger Initiative works to combat senior hunger by enrolling eligible older adults into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The initiative combines technical assistance to local community organizations with online help and advocacy to make it easier for eligible older adults to access SNAP to pay for healthy food. Learn more at