Vae and Lou have been married 43 years and lived in the same house for 40 of those. Both have worked their entire lives until their recent retirement - Lou even served in the Air Force. After decades of independence, they never thought they’d need help, but that was about to change now that Lou spent time in the hospital.
Taught from a young age to make do or do without, it was time for Vae to figure out how to do without. Their fixed income was already stretched thin and despite owning their own home, new medical expenses from Lou’s broken hip meant something had to give.
Right after his fall, a few neighbors brought meals for Vae and Lou, but those dwindled as they returned to their busy lives. They have a daughter in New Mexico, but she had enough to worry about as a mother of three. Vae could never burden her with their situation anyway. A neighbor mentioned a food kitchen several miles away, but Lou had been their sole driver since her sight deteriorated years ago. With his broken hip, they’d never be able to make the drive. She mulled over how to minimize their already rationed food.
Maybe she could manage on one meal a day. She was already down to two. As if on her cue, her stomach started to growl. Maybe she’d watch TV or clean the house again to distract her from the hunger and worry that seemed ready to consume her.
Too many seniors in our community face difficult decisions about whether to pay for prescriptions, utility bills or food. Many lack the transportation to access nearby food banks or pantries that would allow them to receive the vital nutrition they need. The result, seniors suffer in silence, hesitant to burden a community they have served their entire lives.