Many local seniors struggle with social isolation

A research assistant with the Gateway Centre of Excellence In Rural Health says her work this summer into food insecurity in seniors indicated income insecurity is one of the biggest challenges for seniors in maintaining a healthy diet.

“Food is a very social thing,” said Valerie Steckle. “At meal times we cook for others and we have big meals and it’s a very social activity. When you’re living alone, a lot of seniors struggle with finding the motivation to even cook meals that are healthy for themselves.”

Steckle said another big issue is transportation in rural communities for seniors who no longer have a driver’s licence.

“Some of those older adults may have a lot of financial capital, but they don’t necessarily have a lot of social capital,” she said. “They’ve moved away from their families and their social networks, so they may have money to buy food but if they’re not able to get over these transportation barriers, they might have a hard time.”

Steckle said the work she did covered Grey, Bruce, Huron and Perth counties, and many of the issues were similar in all four counties.