Louisville Elder Refugees

Rhonda J. Miller

Some global workforce experts say the idea of relaxing into the “golden years” is no longer the norm. In the second of a two-part series, WKU Public Radio looks at a federally-funded program in western Kentucky that offers low-income adults, age 55 and over, paid training and assistance in finding employment.

As of now, 26 people over the age of 55 who live in the Owensboro region are enrolled in the federal Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

That's in addition to 52 people who participated in the program over the past two years, with about one-third of them finding jobs.

Kentucky Dept. for Aging and Independent Living

Kentucky will hold its first ‘Senior Hunger Summit’ on Oct. 30, in Frankfort. State and local leaders say it’s time to confront hunger and related health issues facing older residents.

Kentucky ranks 50th in the nation in preventable hospitalizations, according to the United Health Foundation’s 2019 Senior Report.

Shannon Gadd, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Aging and Independent Living, said access to nutritious food on a regular basis is key in preventing hospitalizations and addressing other health problems facing seniors.

“I think people just are unaware of the issues: fixed incomes, higher cost of food, higher cost of medicine, lack of transportation," said Gadd. "One of the things we want to hammer home with the hunger summit is that we have a problem, but also we have solutions.”

Rhonda J. Miller

Many older Americans face an issue that’s often kept behind closed doors: hunger.

A new report called The State of Senior Hunger in America shows that eight percent of Kentucky residents age 60 and older are food insecure. Community organizations in Russellville and Bardstown are among many groups helping older adults get enough healthy food.

At the Russellville Senior Center director Christie Lashley called folks to head to the serving table to pick up a tray with a hot lunch.

“All righty, we have Mr. Martin and we have Miss Barbara, Miss Nancy, go get your food….,” said Lashley.

Servers spooned out a plate of barbequed chicken, green beans and mashed potatoes to Tom Martin.