COVID New York: Coronavirus disproportionately wreaks havoc on older Americans, communities of color, says AARP

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NEW YORK (WABC) – Older Americans and communities of color are hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to AARP. Research from the organization has found older New Yorkers of color have behind on rent payments and are struggling with food insecurity at much higher rates than their white counterparts.Additionally, nursing homes with at least a quarter of African American or Latino residents were twice as likely to be affected by the coronavirus as those with less than 5% African American and Latino residents. “This report shows what we’ve been hearing for months, namely that older New Yorkers of color have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic both in terms of health and financial security, ”Beth said Finkel, New York State Director of AARP. “COVID-19 has exposed and exacerbated the disparities that we have documented for years. We and our people will continue to fight to make sure things are good for all New Yorkers.

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The AARP also reports that 77% of households that included an eligible adult aged 50 and over were one-person households, and with so many older SNAP registrants living alone, this presented a particular challenge with many elderly people refusing to leave their homes for fear of contracting the coronavirus.

While many grocery stores created shopping hours specifically for seniors, many of them – especially those who live in apartment buildings – were afraid to go out.

Across New York City, there has been an increased need for food delivery due to economic stressors, the closure of senior citizen centers and the impacts of isolation among vulnerable populations, including older residents. .

While there were numerous home and community feeding programs before the pandemic, including in New York’s senior centers that fed 30,000 elderly residents each year, the pandemic has forced a change and expansion. services.

A 2019 pilot program allowed SNAP beneficiaries to buy groceries online and have food delivered to their homes provided access points to increase food availability, especially for those that may encounter difficulty when visiting a brick and mortar store, and also has the benefit of making safer food purchases during the pandemic.

The state also launched the $ 25 million Nourish New York initiative, which provides emergency funds to food banks and vendors serving people most in need of food.

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Food banks statewide have seen increasingly long queues of individuals seeking emergency food, and those lines appear to be increasing with advocates concerned with sustainability.

New York City launched GetFoodNYC in response to the growing and changing demand for free meals, with the $ 170 million plan to open more than 400 food centers where all New Yorkers can grab food and drink. hire taxi drivers and hire vehicles to help deliver it.

GetFoodNYC is helping meet the needs of elderly home residents who face increased health risks from the pandemic. However, the program raises a number of issues, including meals that are not nutritionally appropriate for older people, especially those who get most of their nutrients from delivered, missed foods.
deliveries because the program had incorrect addresses, food quality and cultural relevance of meals.

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE

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