At least one in nine seniors is at-risk of going hungry due to the inability to obtain sufficient food for their household or having to choose between food and medical care, according to Feeding America.

During September, National Hunger Action Month, Comfort Keepers in Damariscotta, covering the Midcoast area asking the community to make food donations to the Feed Seniors Now food drive to help local seniors and raise awareness for this growing epidemic that impacts millions of older Americans trying to remain healthy and independent.

“National Hunger Action Month is in September, but seniors go hungry all year,” said Paula Goode, general manager of the Damariscotta franchise. “We cannot fight every factor affecting hunger, but we can start here in our community by creating awareness about the issue and helping family members become more aware of the signs of hunger and malnutrition.”

Hunger can lead to malnutrition and other serious health problems in seniors. The lack of an adequate diet can have an immediate impact on the body, mind, and the safety of senior citizens. If seniors fail to consume the appropriate amount of nutrients, their bodies may become weak or unstable and their minds may become fatigued. The combination of these two effects will significantly increase the risk of a fall and other accidents. In addition, malnutrition can affect the body’s immune system and leave seniors more vulnerable to diseases or illnesses. As many as 85 percent of seniors in the care of others are at risk for malnutrition and its consequences. Signs of malnutrition may include sudden weight gain or loss, bruising, or dental difficulties, sudden changes in taste, or a general disinterest in eating. For seniors, malnutrition means the potential for increased hospital stays, increased health complications, early entry into assisted living facilities or even premature death.

In response to a growing need for awareness about senior nutrition, the Comfort Keepers system has launched a nationwide campaign called Nourish Senior Life to create awareness for the importance of a healthy diet for those 65 and over. This senior nutrition campaign aims to help seniors preserve their independence by providing diet and nutrition information, encouragement and necessities.

In the local market, Comfort Keepers has placed food collection bins at the following locations:

In Damariscotta: Full Circle Family Medicine, Camden National Bank and Yellow Front Grocery. In Thomaaston: Chambers Jewelry and Thomaston Grocery. In Rockland: Good Tern Co-Op. In Rockport: Kennebec Pharmacy

For more information on the local Feed Seniors Now food drive and Comfort Keepers Nourish Senior Life initiative, please contact the Comfort Keepers office at 563-2273.