Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs' Elderly Nutrition Program
Sponsor. AoA, which administers the Elderly Nutrition Program, funded under Titles III and VI of the Older Americans Act (OAA).25
Background & Purpose. The Elderly Nutrition Program aims to help older Americans build a foundation for health through improved diets, increased physical activity, and improved lifestyle choices.
Description. Through this program, AoA provides grants to 57 state agencies on aging that make grants to 655 area agencies on aging which contract with about 4,000 local nutrition service providers. In addition, the AoA directly funds 233 Indian tribal organizations representing American Indians and Alaska Natives and 2 grants to organizations representing Native Hawaiians to promote the delivery of nutrition services in their local communities.
The program seeks "to provide the opportunity for older Americans to live their years in dignity."25 In order to achieve this goal, the program is designed to provide healthy meals and reduce malnutrition risk, promote health and prevent disease, and reduce social isolation, while linking older adults with other community services. The program also seeks to provide an opportunity for community involvement in activities such as volunteering.
Services are targeted primarily for older adults with the greatest social and/or economic need, with particular attention to low-income minorities.25 According to AoA, a national evaluation issued in 1996 concluded that the program was successful in reaching vulnerable populations and increasing nutrient intake and social interactions (compared with non-participants), and participants reported satisfaction with the program services.25
Older Americans Act Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Services Program
Background & Purpose. AoA allocates funds to states to provide disease prevention and health promotion services and information at multipurpose senior centers, at congregate meal sites, through home-delivered meal programs, or at other appropriate sites.16
Description. The activities provided through this program include health risk assessments and screenings, nutrition screening and educational services, physical fitness, health promotion programs on chronic disabling conditions, home injury control services, counseling regarding social services, and follow-up health services. The states give priority to areas of the state that are medically underserved, and in which there are large numbers of older individuals who have the greatest economic need for such services.16
Initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health
Sponsor. This initiative involves all of DHHS. However, when focused specifically on the older population, the lead agency is AoA.
Background & Purpose. AoA seeks to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, influenza, and pneumococcal diseases through the strategic use of nutrition programs, information outreach programs, the adoption of culturally appropriate strategies, and methods that ensure increased access to services for those in greatest economic and social need, particularly low-income minorities.26
Description. AoA activity related to this initiative has included a commitment in three key areas: diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and adult immunizations as they relate to minority elders.
Health Care and Aging Studies Branch Mini-Grants Program
Sponsors. AoA in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Chronic Disease Program Directors, the National Association of State Units on Aging, and the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Health Care and Aging Studies Branch.
Background & Purpose. The program is designed to coordinate activities between public health and aging service agencies to provide health promotion programs to older adults in the areas of physical activity, proper nutrition, Medicare preventive services, arthritis, and stress management.
Description. The program has funded 10 mini-grants to the following states: Arkansas, California, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.27
WISEWOMAN: Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation Demonstration Program for Women Across the Nation
Sponsor. CDC, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Background & Purpose. The Wisewoman program will provide chronic disease risk factor screening, lifestyle intervention, and referral services in an effort to prevent cardiovascular disease. This program targets low-income, underinsured and uninsured women aged 40-64 years.28
Description. There are currently 12 WISEWOMAN demonstration projects operating in 12 states, tribes, and territories. These projects are completing the planning phase and are preparing to provide preventive health services. To date, more than 10,000 women between the ages of 40 and 64 years have been screened through the WISEWOMAN projects. According to the CDC, WISEWOMAN will continue to extend risk factor screening, interventions, and medical referrals to participants in each of the 12 funded projects as long as funding is available.28
Creativity in Aging
Sponsors. AoA in partnership with a consortium developed to specifically focus on creativity in aging. A memorandum of understanding was initiated between several federal and private-sector partners to provide joint support. Federal partners include the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and two DHHS agencies, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and SAMHSA. NEA and NIMH are providing federal support for the study, and AoA is actively involved on the study advisory board. Two private-sector partners, AARP and the Guttman Foundation, are providing support of $600,000.
Background & Purpose. This is the first study to evaluate the impact of quality cultural programs on the overall physical health, mental health, functioning, and sense of well-being of older adults.16
Description. Dr. Gene Cohen, Director of George Washington University's Center on Health, Aging and the Humanities, is conducting the 3-year study at the sites of three cultural programs for older persons. Sites included are Elders Share the Arts in Brooklyn, New York; Artworks at the Goldman Institute in San Francisco; and the Levine School of Music in Northern Virginia.16