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Starving Seniors: How America Fails To Feed Its Aging

Sep 3, 2019

Army veteran Eugene Milligan is 75 years old and blind. He uses a wheelchair since losing half his right leg to diabetes and gets dialysis for kidney failure.

And he has struggled to get enough to eat. 

Mazie Ford was the only verified super-centenarian in Florida. That’s someone who’s over 110 years old. 

Ford died earlier this week. Her family said she died peacefully at her condo in Hallandale Beach. She was just seven weeks shy of her 113th birthday in June.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

On a recent afternoon, 71-year-old Milton Malphus walked into the community room of his senior apartment building to get some lunch. Sporting a flat-rimmed hat, basketball sneakers and a T-shirt covered in pineapples, Malphus said he dresses as young as he feels: 17.

On a hot day in September, Charlene Jones celebrated her 61st birthday by herself.

The former nursing-home cook made herself a birthday dinner of turkey and dressing, macaroni and cheese, string beans and butter pound cake. She ate it alone, in a dim apartment in an affordable housing complex in Miami’s West Little River neighborhood.

“I wanted to be home,” Jones said. “I don’t really like being out.”

Members of the generation that came of age in the era of marijuana are reaching for weed in their golden years.

A study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence this month suggests that increasing numbers of middle aged and older adults are using marijuana — and using it a lot.

Thousands reacted this week to a photo of residents sitting waist-deep in floodwaters at an assisted living facility in Dickinson, Texas. The town did not issue a mandatory evacuation order ahead of Tropical Storm Harvey. The photo, and Texas officials' decisions to not evacuate, could have ramifications for emergency plans for Florida’s elderly residents.

A couple of measures aimed at helping Florida’s most vulnerable are now heading to the Senate floor, after passing their last committee Monday.

Sarasota County has a higher percentage of people over 65 than any other large county in the nation. And some business leaders now say that all those seniors - rather than a demographic drawback - could be a valuable asset.

They could actually help diversify the economy - even turn the county into what they're calling a "mecca" for those who want to learn what an aging population looks like.

The family of a 65-year-old woman has been charged with manslaughter after authorities say the woman’s body was found covered in infected bedsores that left her ribs exposed, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says Mary Winston, a former nurse, had rheumatoid arthritis that was so severe she couldn’t move. Her husband told authorities they should have sought professional medical care, but they were scared to let authorities see how badly her condition had deteriorated.