ACL recently awarded six grantees funding for innovative projects that will enhance the quality, effectiveness, and outcomes of nutrition services programs provided by the national aging services network. The grants total $742,872 for this year with a two-year project period. Through this grant program, ACL aims to identify innovative and promising practices that can be scaled across the country and to increase use of evidence-informed practices within the nutrition programs.
The six organizations receiving grants and their projects are:
Iowa Department on Aging: Aims to improve health outcomes of participants in the Linn County Innovations in Nutrition Program by promoting higher service quality. Objectives include collaborating with community health partners to increase referrals to the congregate meal sites; increasing the availability and variety of evidence-based health promotion programs at the sites; and providing chronic disease-specific nutrition education.
LiveOn NY (formerly the Council of Senior Centers and Services), New York, New York: Will use an existing city-wide data collection system to address oral disease and ability to eat among homebound older adults. Objectives include developing and delivering modified meals appropriate for reduced oral/dental function; and testing the utility of oral health items included in the Senior Tracking Analysis and Reporting System to identify clients in need of modified meals.
Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania: Will use the program “Taking Charge of Diabetes” to increase knowledge about healthy eating and diabetes management. The Taking Charge program aims to help people self-manage their Type-2 diabetes to decrease their diabetes-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
Maryland Department of Aging: Will introduce evidence-based practices, cost-cutting measures, innovative meal products, and efficient service delivery methods to address the epidemic of older adult malnutrition. Objectives include improving quality within the statewide delivery system by creating new medically tailored meal packages and meal delivery mechanisms for patients transitioning from hospital to home. The project also will establish an evidence-based framework for a new malnutrition education program.
University of Utah: Will develop a high-quality malnutrition home visitation pilot program for home-delivered meal recipients. Objectives include providing community-focused malnutrition training from a person- and family-centered perspective; identifying nutrition indices related to functionality, quality of life, ability to age-in-place, and hospital readmission; and creating personalized nutrition care plans.
Missouri Alliance of Area Agencies on Aging:
Will use an advanced data-card technology to improve the service, delivery, and cost-effectiveness of congregate nutrition programming for older people at high risk of malnutrition. The technology will track member participation, and offer interactive feedback, personal nutrition information, and health management advice.
For home delivered meals, the program will use in-home, artificial intelligence-enabled “smart” speakers to improve the service, delivery, and cost-effectiveness of the in-home nutrition program for older people at high risk of malnutrition. The speakers will reduce access barriers to good nutrition by opening up numerous nutrition choices. They are also highly programmable, and community partners will install code that facilitates communication and food ordering through local food pantries, all through simple voice commands by the client. Creating grocery lists, browsing and ordering food items, and arranging for delivery to the home are examples of services. After the client communicates the food order to the pantry, the volunteer network or contract delivery service transports the food items to the home.