This month marks the 45th anniversary of the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program has been the primary piece of federal legislation supporting social and nutrition services to Americans age 60 and older since 1965. We have to protect the critical funding for the Meals on Wheels programs that are working tirelessly day in and day out to provide nearly 218 million meals, either at home or in group settings, to more than 2.4 million seniors each year. OAA programs are vital for seniors who are at significant risk of hunger, isolation and losing their ability to live independently. Services provided include:
- Home-delivered meals and meals served in group settings such as senior centers
- Personal care and homemaker support
- Caregiver assistance
- Preventative health
Did you know 1 in 6 seniors struggles with hunger. Meals on Wheels can provide a senior meals for 1 year for about the same cost as 1 day in the hospital.
Nationally, Meals on Wheels serves more than 500,000 veterans each year. The OAA covers 35% of the total cost to provide nutritious meals, safety checks and friendly visits to more than 54,000 Seniors. Programs rely on contributions from state, local, private donations and other resources to cover the rest.
I have worked with seniors in three different states. This program kept them in their home and out of the nursing home. It also prevented hospitalization and malnutrition. I remember admitting several seniors to the hospital for dehydration which was due to lack of food and support services. Instead of going to nursing homes they went home. Medicaid is the major funding source for covering the cost of nursing home care. Meals on Wheels decreases the rate of falls, which cost our nation $34 billion each year. When a senior falls, they have serious injury that leads to hospitalization, admission to a Rehabilitation Center and then too often to a nursing home.
Sign the petition by 3/31/2017