Gas Prices a Killer for the Elderly

Gas prices are not only hurting millions financially, but it may be costing some seniors their lives.

As gas prices rise to astronomical heights -- The national average price of gas reached $4 last week -- and consumers get hit with high grocery bills, some of the nation's most defenseless are left to fight a battle: Against hunger.

This is clearly seen in nonprofit food delivery programs to home-bound seniors, such as Meals on Wheels. In these programs, oft-times volunteers deliver meals to the elderly. Nowadays, volunteers are finding it hard to afford the gas needed to make these trips.

The Meals on Wheels Association of America has seen a 58% loss in volunteers in May due to gas prices alone. "Our programs have to cut back on everything," said Enid Borden, President and CEO of the MOWAA. Now, "sometimes volunteers are only able to go out once a week or every other week.."

The one meal a day can turn into no meals a day, or a meal and frozen meal (per day). 4 out 10 seniors sit on a waiting list waiting and/or hoping to be one of the million to receive a meal each day.

It's not just meals that the elderly are missing out on. Also, there's missed or reduced human contact for seniors that are often considered "shut ins." The loss of volunteers that offer a friendly hello or can look at the health of seniors can be devastating. One Meals on Wheels program that had to minimize its senior visits was informed of two deceased senior citizens left for as many as seven days.