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Winter can be a stressful time—especially if you are one of the many people who anticipates a spike in your utility bills during the colder months. Historically speaking, it's not unusual for many people to see higher utility bills in the winter as a result of staying indoors more, turning on the lights earlier, poor insulation, and cranking up the thermostat.

However, recent developments might cause an even bigger spike in heating and electric bills than people are used to seeing. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to spend even more time at home than they would otherwise. Further, inflation trends have prompted the government to warn households to expect increases in their heating bills of up to 54%.

Utility bills can be expensive. In 2020, the US government reported that the average electric bill per house was $117.46—a hefty amount for anyone, but especially for households that are struggling with poverty, debt, or unemployment. And unfortunately, experts are warning that the cost of energy will likely continue to increase in the near future, a trend due in part to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senior populations are often left out of the conversation around hunger and food insecurity. In fact, hunger and food security are widespread problems amongst this vulnerable group. In 2019, Feeding America estimated that 7.1% of all seniors aged 60 and over faced hunger—in total, that amounts to about 5.2 million individuals.

 

Food insecurity among senior populations can be caused by a variety of factors. In addition to poverty and other social determinants, chronic disease has been linked to food insecurity as both a cause and a symptom. Some older adults simply lack access to reliable transportation, or suffer from a disability that prevents them from shopping for their own food.