While the senior in your life may be living independently, it can be difficult to balance a household budget while living on a fixed income. For non-negotiable expenses like doctor's visits and medication, seniors know not to scrimp. The area where seniors most often cut corners is food. While hauls to the grocery store can be pricey and difficult for seniors to handle physically, several options exist that can help elders get the nutritional food they need without breaking the bank.
1. Buy generic. Premium priced foods may feature a noticeable name brand or recipe, but typically these foods differ little from the store's generic brand offerings. If your relative has a sensitive stomach or several food allergies, you may want to confirm that there's no clear difference between foods before they purchase a generic brand.
2. Clip coupons. Fantastic deals on expensive foods do exist, you often just have to hunt around for them. Volunteer to help your relative search for the best coupons for their next trip to the supermarket. Coupons can yield great savings, and used in conjunction with store membership cards or other promotional deals, can allow your relative to save a great deal of money.
3. Gardening. For active seniors, gardening can be an excellent way to save money on fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as to get in a daily level of exercise. With any physical exertion, the risk of falls or accidents can increase. Ease your qualms with a medical alarm system from Bay Alarm. A single push of a button can allow the senior in your life to reach out to emergency staff who can help in the event of an outdoor fall or emergency situation.
4. Supplemental programs. According to recent statistics, more than 1 in 7 seniors experienced food insecurity in 2010. Those most at risk, according to the study, were those whose incomes were actually one to two times above the federal poverty level. As a result, supplemental government programs have burgeoned in the last few years. Seniors can take advantage of these programs by visiting local food pantries or by getting involved with Meals on Wheels, which delivers nutritious meals to seniors in need.
5. Food stamps. If the cost of groceries is too onerous for your relative to keep up, encourage him or her to apply for food stamps. Each state varies in program requirements, but a senior may qualify based on his or her financial eligibility. The USDA also recently launched the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which provides elders with coupons to farmer's markets and other roadside stands offering healthy produce.