• The Little Things That Helped Open My Eyes

    Could I get what I considered to be proper nutrition on the food budget of the average older person on SNAP? That was the challenge that I set for myself.  

  • SNAP Challenge Nutrition

    During the SNAP Challenge, I’m using SparkPeople, an online nutrition diary, to track my intake of calories, carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

  • Dinner for 4 on a SNAP Budget

    When NCOA decided to do the SNAP Challenge, people assumed I would leave the rest of my family out of it. Never! Since we eat dinner together as a family every night, my family was required to come along on this important ride with me.

    Eating carrots
  • Day 4 Begins

    I am starting day four of the SNAP challenge and was so glad to make it over hump day! My husband opted out of the challenge but has been quite supportive. He helped me shop last Sunday at Aldi’s but said he did not have to participate to know that he couldn’t make it on that little amount of food.

  • Getting into a Routine

    I'm on day three of the SNAP challenge and it's getting a bit easier to get into a routine. I’ve found that my biggest struggle has been in the evenings at dinner time and before bed. 

  • Meeting the SNAP Challenge

    Food already looms large in my life. I have enjoyed cooking and many of my happy childhood memories involve family meals. One special memory is picking the first strawberries in June on the eastern end of Long Island for my father’s favorite birthday cake – Strawberry Shortcake with lots of fresh whipped cream. So taking up the SNAP challenge is something I think I am equipped for.

  • Shopping for the SNAP Challenge

    Food purchased

    My husband is joining me for this week of the SNAP Challenge, and we knew we couldn't make it through the week without some serious advance planning.

  • SNAP Challenge: Day One

    During the first day of the SNAP Challenge, I thought a lot about my grandmothers, both of whom knew how to stretch a dollar to feed their families.

    My maternal grandmother, Thelma, raised five children on my grandfather's railroad salary and the money she brought in by running a daycare in her home. During the Great Depression, her family relied on bruised and damaged vegetables from the local grocery when they couldn't afford produce.

  • Thankful to Have Friends Who Share!

    I shared the SNAP challenge with a friend a couple weeks ago and she invited me over on Monday for a potluck. I joined her and her family with my very skimpy salad (lettuce, grated carrots, and tomato) to add to her meal. 

  • My First Lunch on the SNAP Challenge

    Trevor's lunch

    Today was the first SNAP lunch, consisting of rice and beans, a sweet potato, and some greens.  It was definitely a much smaller portion than what I’m used to eating for a work lunch. 

  • The Snap Challenge is a Challenge

    I went to my local supermarket on Saturday to buy my food for the week, and learned several lessons even before starting to live on my tight budget.

  • SNAP Challenge: Thinking about Momma Carol

    As I reflect on how to make this week work on the less-than-$5-a-day budget, I think about my grandmother, Momma Carol.  She lived in the same apartment for 40 years and three of her neighbor/friends were there for 30+ years... 

  • SNAP Challenge: The Four Cs

    cash, coupons, club card and calculator

    I approached my shopping trip to prepare for the SNAP Challenge armed with the 4 Cs: coupons, calculator, club card, and cash. With a budget of only $20, I wanted to make sure I was ready for the bargains.

  • NCOA Takes the SNAP Challenge

    Could you eat healthy on $3.84 per day? That’s the challenge for the 2.85 million seniors who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for food help – on only $119 per month (national average). And now it’s our challenge, too. From March 5-9, 2012, the National Council on Aging (NCOA) will sponsor the first-ever SNAP Challenge by a national organization serving older adults. 

  • Sunshine in the Midst of a Winter Storm

    After losing her job, Ms. H was forced to move back to New York and live with her sister, where she was introduced to the PathStone Corporation, one of NCOA’s Economic Security Service Centers. Today, Ms. H has a great place to live, has a community service position, and receives benefits that help pay her bills.

  • Hope Through the Fire

    Mr. J lost his home in a fire. With meager resources and not enough work credit to receive Social Security, he struggled to meet his basic needs. Fortunately, Mr. J connected with United Way of Tucson & Southern Arizona, one of NCOA’s Economic Security Service Centers. Thanks to United Way, Mr. J now receives benefits and is on the path to once again work and live in his own home.

  • Protect and Strengthen the Older Americans Act

    The Older Americans Act (OAA) is a key vehicle to provide support that keep older adults healthy, independent, and engaged in their communities. Since 1965, the OAA has funded programs and services such as nutrition assistance, caregiver support, transportation, and more.

  • One Fall Away

    Many of today’s older adults are one fall away from physical and economic disaster. The good news is that falls are largely preventable and are not an inevitable part of aging. September 23 is the 4th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day, dedicated to increasing awareness of falls as the leading cause of injury deaths and nonfatal injuries for those 65+.

  • Transportation as an afterthought

    Older non-drivers--who often are low-income--make far fewer excursions outside the home than their driving counterparts, a fact that can lead to social isolation. For these seniors, affordable, accessible transportation options in their communities are essential to maintaining their health and independence.

  • The Debt Ceiling Plan: How Will it Affect Vulnerable Seniors?

    After months of negotiations, Congress and President Obama have agreed on a package to increase the nation’s debt ceiling and cut the federal budget. What does the plan mean for seniors who are struggling to make ends meet? As with any compromise, there’s both good news and bad news.

  • 13 Million Seniors Are One Budget Cut Away

  • Focus on Seniors, not Swindlers

    In a June 23 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, James Bovard suggested there is rampant fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps). NCOA’s Nora Dowd Eisenhower, Vice President of Benefits Access, responds to Bovard’s accusations by pointing to the real problem: seniors who need the benefit are not getting it.

  • Why Reverse Mortgage Counseling Matters for Seniors in Need

    The fiscal year 2011 federal budget dealt a severe blow to Americans who are struggling with housing issues. Congress completely eliminated funding for the federal Housing Counseling program through the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Why does this matter to older Americans who are economically insecure? Because Congress also eliminated funding for HUD reverse mortgage counseling—a critical program that helps older homeowners find ways to stay in their own homes longer.

  • Medicaid and Seniors: What’s at Stake in the Budget Debate

    This summer, Congress is under enormous pressure to find a way to reduce the federal deficit—and Medicaid has become a prime target for cuts. National advocacy groups are now coming together to protect this vital program for our most vulnerable citizens.

  • What Older Americans Month Means (to Me)

    Find out what Older Americans Month means to:

    - Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging

    - Pat Branson, Executive Director at Senior Citizens of Kodiak, Inc

    - Betty Koski, Dpty Director for Consumer Education at Senior Resources Agency on Aging

    - Sue Lachenmayr, Center for Healthy Aging Program Associate at the NCOA

  • ONE AWAY and the Older Americans Act

    If you’ve visited the One Away website before, you’ve seen the stories and read the solutions we’re gathering to help the 13 million older adults who are living in or on the edge of poverty. But how will we transform these ideas into reality to improve seniors’ lives? One critical vehicle is the Older Americans Act (OAA). 

  • Health Costs Add Up Fast – Help is Here

    This month, One Away looks at health, especially high out-of-pocket health care costs and their impact on vulnerable older adults.

    The majority of older people have at least one chronic health condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis or heart disease. This means they need more care and, often, expensive prescription drugs, and the costs can add up fast.

  • ONE AWAY: The Story So Far

    It's been just over a month since we launched the One Away campaign for elder economic security! We've been collecting a lot of stories, so we decided to start telling our own. We hope our monthly recaps of campaign progress and economic security news will help you get to know us—and our mission—a little better!

  • “We Can Do Better”


    “Millions of Americans live one bad diagnosis, one pink slip, one interest rate reset away from complete financial collapse.” This statement by Elizabeth Warren, Special Advisor to the President on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart this week hits close to home for the One Away campaign.

  • Not a Handout, But a Helping Hand

    Joy McClanahan had been steadily employed from the age of 17, but lost her job to outsourcing in October 2008. Two years later, after dropping out of nursing school to care for her dying husband, Joy found herself a widow at 60 years old, attempting to re-enter a very tough job market. 

  • What Do Americans Really Know about Elder Economic Security?

    NCOA recently polled more than 2,500 adults 18+ to test their knowledge of elder economic security. The new national poll revealed that the majority of Americans understand that seniors are having an especially hard time finding employment, but it also uncovered some lesser-known ways in which seniors are stuggling.

  • Living ONE AWAY from Financial Crisis


    Like millions of older Americans, Bettye, Maria, and Andre live One Away -- one payment away, one meal away, and one medical accident away from a financial crisis. We're asking Congress to stop letting older Americans struggle in silence.