As the boomer generation ages, the number of seniors who are going hungry is escalating. According to a study conducted by Feeding America, nearly 3 million households that housed seniors experienced food insecurity, or a lack of access to proper nutrition.

There are several reasons why older adults aren't receiving the nutrition that they need. Depression, medication side effects, dementia, and poverty are just a few of the most common causes. Then there are those who have trouble getting around, or who hide the fact that they're in need of assistance out of embarrassment—after living on your own for so long, it's often hard for this demographic to come to terms with the fact that they're in need of cash assistance.

Just as with any age group, when seniors aren't eating well, existing health problems are exacerbated, and new ones can spring up. Heart, bone, liver, stomach and cognitive problems can arise from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.

As a caregiver, there are three important ways you can help:

Be aware of your loved one's needs. Check in on them regularly, and take note if they show signs of malnutrition, such as hair or weight loss, very dry skin, or memory loss. If you're a long-distance relative, check in by phone, or utilize technologies such as Skype, that allow you to see the person without being physically present.

Look into financial assistance. Ohio offers food, cash and medical assistance to those who have recently lost income or who meet certain requirements for low-income households. Many seniors belong to this group and may not know it, as a rising cost of living meets a stagnant retirement income.

Check out mobile meals or hunger assistance programs in your area. The state of Ohio is lucky to host many federal, state and local organizations that are committed to fighting the growing hunger problem among our senior population. Get more information here.

Embassy Healthcare is committed to making sure that the seniors in our communities enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle. If you have further questions about caregiving, please contact us.