Vital Aging Network

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Healthy Meals Keep Older Adults Home

by Lisa Sawyer, Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging

It’s a fact – the better we eat, the better we feel and live. Good nutrition can help older adults stay in their homes longer and have better management of chronic health problems. A balanced diet of a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can help older adults get the nutrients they need. 

For some older adults, accessing healthy meals can be difficult because of too little money or the lack of community-supported meals that meet personal, religious or cultural preferences.

Nutrition for Low-Income Older Adults
The Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging (MAAA) administers state and federal Older Americans Act funding to subsidize group dining and home-delivered meals for low-income older adults living in the Twin Cities seven county area. Nutritious meals are available up to seven days a week and meals meet Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Dietary Reference Intakes. Special diets, including diabetic, low cholesterol, gluten free and renal, are available. Participants are asked to make a contribution toward the cost of the meal.

Increased Options
MAAA and its service partners continue to work toward a more diverse model of meals for older adults to increase their control over the selection of food and when to eat their meals. For example, in two counties MAAA serves, participants who receive home delivered meals have a choice of a hot daily meal or a weekly delivery of fresh, ready-to-heat, or frozen meals. In those counties, older adults can choose from over 80 breakfast, lunch or dinner entrees that best meet their nutritional needs and preferences. MAAA is also offering more culturally specific meals to the growing Hmong, Karen, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Lao, Latino and East African older populations.

For more information contact MAAA at maaa@tcaging.org or call the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433.

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