Older adults today face a number of economic challenges that previous generations did not, from low incomes to lack of affordable housing—issues that, left unaddressed, are likely to get worse by the time we reach the age of 60.

Here are a few of the key issues affecting older adults and what we can do to make a difference.

Growing Senior Population

Today there are 40 million Americans over the age of 65. By 2030, the senior population is projected to more than double, and by 2050, 25 percent of all Californians will be aged 60 or above (California Commission on Aging 2016). Neither our country, our state, nor our local communities are prepared to handle this growth in the number of seniors needing housing, healthcare, and everyday assistance.

How We Help: As a society, we need to be focused on putting systems, programs, and infrastructure in place to meet the future needs of a much larger senior population. Serving Seniors helps by advocating for such investments, and by building and maintaining senior housing and facilities that will serve San Diego County for years to come.

Lack of Affordable Housing

The average one-bedroom apartment in San Diego costs $1,765 per month (Zumper 2019). Meanwhile, our median client lives on an income of just $935 a month. As a result of the lack of affordable housing, our community’s poorest seniors are becoming homeless at an alarming rate. Between 2017 and 2018, the number of local unsheltered homeless seniors increased by 9 percent. Today, 35 percent of the local homeless population is aged 55 and above (San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless 2018).

How We Help: Serving Seniors provides housing stability by increasing the stock of affordable and transitional housing for low-income and homeless seniors, and advocating at the local and state levels for designated funding to address senior homelessness.

Food Insecurity

Three in eight San Diego County seniors have to choose between food and rent every day (U.S. Census Bureau 2017). Without access to a stable and nutritious diet, many low-income seniors become malnourished and develop a variety of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease that increase their medical costs and threaten their independence.

How We Help: Serving Seniors improves food security for low-income seniors by providing over 640,000 nutritious congregate and home-delivered meals a year—free of charge—to over 4,000 seniors a year.