As individuals age the body undergoes changes, including how it breaks down the food that is consumed. There may be a need for more specific nutrients and less of others. Eating nutritious meals helps the body stay strong and healthy longer and may contribute to a lower risk of developing chronic diseases.
The nutrition program is authorized under Title III-C of the Older Americans Act and is designed to promote the general health and well-being of older individuals and delay adverse health conditions through access to nutrition and other disease prevention and health promotion services.
Purposes of the Nutrition Program:
- Reduce hunger and food insecurity
- Promote socialization of older individuals
- Promote the health and well-being of older individuals
The target population for the nutrition program is adults age 60 and older who are in greatest social and economic need. Within this target population, particular attention is given to the following groups:
- Low-income older adults
- Minority older individuals
- Older adults in rural communities
- Older individuals with limited English proficiency
- Older adults at risk of institutional care
Services provided by the Nutrition Program include:
- Congregate Meals – Nutritious meals provided at a nutrition site that offers a safe environment which promotes social interaction and schedules activities that are enriching and educational.
- Home-Delivered Meals – Popularly known as “meals on wheels”, these are nutritious meals delivered to the home of the older person who is at risk of institutionalization because of social isolation brought on by illness, disability or lack of resources.
- Nutrition screening and assessment: To get a holistic view of the older individual in order to determine their needs. In some instances, the older individual may be eligible to receive additional in-home and community based services that will allow them to age with dignity.
- Nutrition education:
- Knowing the right kinds and amounts of food to eat
- How the body uses nutrients from foods, with special emphasis on “food as medicine”
- Behavioral practices that affect food choices
- Consumer issues that are pertinent to good nutrition
- Evidence based practice: The use of nutrition interventions to appropriately manage chronic conditions based on the proven relationships among diet, health, and disease prevention.