The plate shouldn't remain empty even in old age
Enabling a dignified retirement with food packages
Friedel W. is 69 years old and looks forward to the big box of food every month. She is always surprised by a new treat and knows that she can reliably secure her food at the end of the month thanks to the boxes. She is also grateful that she receives support from the volunteers on her way out of isolation and existential hardship. Friedel has worked as a hairdresser all her life. She took a few years off to raise her children and then worked part-time. When the children were out of the house, the marriage broke up and her mother became in need of care. So she could only work a little again. Later, with her small pension, there was hardly anything left to live on after the rent. She managed with food from the food bank and went to the senior citizens' café. But then she could no longer physically cope with the long distances and the few social contacts dried up. Corona has worsened the isolation. With the food parcels comes not only food, but also company and support through the door.
Year-round guaranteed supply of food and assistance for senior citizens in Bavarian Swabia
Volunteers deliver monthly food packages to needy immobile senior citizens
Number of food packages delivered
The senior citizens can also feed themselves at the end of the month, experience more security and well-being as well as access to further support services
Improvement of food security and quality of life, as well as reduced existential fears and isolation among supported the senior citizens
Biographies like Friedel’s are exemplary for many women in Germany. At the end of decades of employment, there are low pensions and a high level of poverty in old age. These consequences can be traced back to traditional family structures with the associated child-rearing breaks, part-time work and priority work in the low-wage sector. Those affected rarely take advantage of help in the form of basic income support. The reasons for this are the high bureaucratic hurdles, the shame of being needy and the fear that one’s own children would then be prosecuted (Bayerischer Rundfunk, 2022).Poverty in old age is widespread. More than one in five people over 80 (22.4%) in Germany is affected by poverty. This poverty rate is higher than that of the population as a whole (14.8 %). Among very old women, the proportion is even more than nine percentage points higher than among men (University of Cologne, 2021).In no other federal state are so many women at risk of poverty in old age as in Bavaria. With an at-risk-of-poverty rate of 26% among women over 65 years of age, Bavaria sadly occupies the top position among the federal states. The rate for women is thus roughly one third higher than the 19.7% at-risk-of-poverty rate for men of the same age (Federal Statistical Office, 2023).Poverty means much more than “just” money worries. Those who lack money often also lack security and social participation. That is why the Malteser “food parcels against poverty among the elderly” were launched more than 12 years ago together with the “Index of Need”. The purpose of the food parcels is to help senior citizens in need when they can no longer reach the nearest food bank. Through the contact with the volunteers, the recipients experience care and access to further offers of help. In this way, the consequences of poverty in old age and the loneliness that is often closely linked to it can be reduced.
The good deed
Your good deed today fills the plates of needy, immobile senior citizens like Friedel W. The food parcels take away the worry of what to eat in the last week of the month when the bank account is empty again. At the end of each month, the needy receive a box with about 7 kg of food for about 20 meals. The food packages contain basic foodstuffs, fruit and vegetables. The packages are delivered by Malteser volunteers. When talking to the senior citizens, it becomes clear time and again that, in addition to the urgent material help, the closeness and time given by the volunteers are just as important. The good deed alleviates the consequences of poverty and loneliness in old age and gives those affected easy access to further help.
Number of inhabitants
Gross domestic product per capita per year
Human Development Index
The European comparison also emphasises the problem: at 28.1 per cent, the poverty risk rate for the over-65s in Germany in 2021 was higher than the EU average of around 27.4 per cent (Deutscher Bundestag, 2023).
About the organization and further information
Malteser Hilfsdienst e.V. Diözesangeschäftsstelle Augsburg