Alexandria, VA, August 13, 2015 – Meals on Wheels America today announces that it has been awarded a one-year $80,685 grant from The Retirement Research Foundation to identify and increase understanding of policy barriers—actual and perceived— that exist within states that administer Older Americans Act (OAA) Senior Nutrition Programs.
“Misunderstandings about the policies governing the Older Americans Act limit the ability of many Meals on Wheels programs to serve more seniors,” said Ellie Hollander, Meals on Wheels America President and CEO. “Dispelling myths and/or surfacing real policy barriers that get in the way of implementing the OAA will go a long way to optimizing funding levels, helping to improve efficiencies, adopt innovative practices and have greater local impact.”
By collecting and analyzing data through focus groups, surveys and other research, the project aims to identify the most common misinterpretations and policy barriers that constrain nutrition programs and keep them from best meeting the needs of seniors in a changing home and community-based services (HCBS) environment. Once these obstacles are uncovered and accurately interpreted, the information will be used to educate the field, enable them to expand capacity, and improve operations across State Units on Aging (SUAs), Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and the OAA Nutrition Programs themselves.
“Food insecurity among older adults is on the rise,” notes Nancy Zweibel, Senior Program Officer at The Retirement Research Foundation. “While there continues to be a growing demand for nutritious home-delivered meals for vulnerable seniors, many organizations are forced to do more with less due to cuts in federal and state funding. This research will help to identify issues and plan creative strategies to reach a greater number of older adults.”
Armed with these findings and clarifications, Meals on Wheels programs—home-delivered and congregate— and the Aging Network, at large, will be able to advocate for policy modifications to promote service expansion and innovation in the future.
About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
About the Retirement Research Foundation
The Retirement Research Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for our nation’s elders. RRF is one of the nation’s first private foundations devoted exclusively to aging and retirement issues. The Foundation was founded on the belief that our society will be judged by how we treat our elders.