Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 450630, 11 pages
Research Article

Learning from “Knocks in Life”: Food Insecurity among Low-Income Lone Senior Women

1Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3M 2J6
2Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 3J5
3Department of Family Studies and Gerontology, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3M 2J6
4Participatory Food Costing Project, Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3M 2J6

Received 4 May 2012; Revised 19 July 2012; Accepted 2 August 2012

Academic Editor: Joseph R. Sharkey

Copyright © 2012 Rebecca J. Green-LaPierre et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Building on earlier quantitative work where we showed that lone senior households reliant on public pensions in Nova Scotia (NS), Canada lacked the necessary funds for a basic nutritious diet, here we present findings from a qualitative study involving in-depth interviews with eight low-income lone senior women living in an urban area of NS. Using a phenomenological inquiry approach, in-depth interviews were used to explore lone senior women’s experiences accessing food with limited financial resources. Drawing upon Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory, we explored their perceived ability to access a nutritionally adequate and personally acceptable diet, and the barriers and enablers to do so; as well in light of our previous quantitative research, we explored their perceptions related to adequacy of income, essential expenses, and their strategies to manage personal finances. Seven key themes emerged: world view, income adequacy, transportation, health/health problems, community program use, availability of family and friends, and personal food management strategies. World view exerted the largest influence on seniors’ personal perception of food security status. The implications of the findings and policy recommendations to reduce the nutritional health inequities among this vulnerable subset of the senior population are considered.