The Administration on Aging’s (AoA) Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP) provides grants to support nutrition services to older people throughout the country. The ENP, authorized under Title III, Grants for State and Community Programs on Aging, and Title VI, Grants for Native Americans, under the Older Americans Act, is intended to improve the dietary intakes of participants and to offer participants opportunities to form new friendships and to create informal support networks.
The ENP provides for congregate and home-delivered meals. These meals and other nutrition services are provided in a variety of settings, such as senior centers, schools, and in individual homes.
Meals served under the program must provide at least one-third of the daily-recommended dietary allowances established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. In practice, the ENP’s 3.1 million elderly participants are receiving an estimated 40 to 50 percent of most required nutrients.
The ENP also provides a range of related services, by some of the aging network’s estimated 4,000 nutrition service providers, including nutrition screening, assessment, education and counseling. These services help older participants to identify their general and special nutrition needs, as they may relate to health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes. The services help older participants to learn to shop for, and/or to plan and prepare, meals that are economical and which help to manage or ameliorate specific health problems as well as enhancing their health and well being. The congregate meal programs also provide older people with positive social contacts with other seniors at the group meal sites.
Volunteers who deliver meals to older persons who are homebound are encouraged to spend some time with the elderly. The volunteers also offer an important opportunity to check on the welfare of the homebound elderly and are encouraged to report any health or other problems that they may note during their visits.
In addition to providing nutrition and nutrition-related services, the ENP provides an important link to other needed supportive in-home and community-based services such as homemaker-home health aide services, transportation, fitness programs, and even home repair and home modification programs.
*Article provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging