Which financial stressors are linked to food insecurity among older adults in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands? An exploratory study
Food insecurity among adults age 65 and older is a growing public policy concern in European countries, but the extent of the problem and the related financial stressors are unclear. The purpose of this paper is to measure the percent of food insecure individuals in a targeted sample of financially fragile older adults, and to identify associated financial stressors and socio-economic characteristics. This exploratory study is based on an online survey of 1,059 older adults experiencing financial hardship. Participants were recruited through commercial consumer panels in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands. The proportion of financially fragile older adults reporting food insecurity ranged from 24% in the British sample, 29% in the German sample, and 35% in the Dutch sample. We identified financial stressors that contributed to food insecurity in each country sample. Having more financial stressors increased the risk of food insecurity, which was similar in each country. Within and across country samples, food insecurity is associated with financial stressors. Insights for policy makers, consumer advocates, and social services point to the value of integrating financial and food-related support services, the potential for cross-country collaboration, and efforts that take into account the particular financial circumstances of older adults.