1 in 3 senior nutrition programs has a waiting list, with older adults waiting 3 months on average for services
Arlington, VA – January 19, 2024 –
Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander and National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) Executive Director Bob Blancato today issued the following statement regarding the enactment of H.R. 2872, the Further Additional Continuing Appropriations and Other Extensions Act of 2024
Following the enactment of H.R. 2872 to maintain current funding and the federal government operating for several more weeks, we remain concerned about the path ahead for senior nutrition programs beyond the new March 8 deadline. While we are relieved that another short-term agreement was reached, this legislation prolongs the ongoing uncertainty for the 5,000 community-based organizations that rely on federal funding through the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program and the seniors they serve.
Without long-term funding solutions, senior nutrition programs are unable to plan for the future or serve seniors on waiting lists. In a recent survey, 97% of local programs said they need increased funding just to keep up with inflation. Food insecurity is also on the rise, with 12 million older Americans struggling with hunger in 2022—two million more than 2021. Leaving seniors on waiting lists has real costs for the country: older adult malnutrition costs health care $51.3 billion and social isolation costs Medicare $6.7 billion annually.
Senior nutrition programs nationwide are poised to help end senior hunger, malnutrition, isolation and loneliness, if provided sufficient funding. These proven and effective community-based programs have more than 50 years of experience, expertise and trust to serve those in greatest need. However, with rising costs and increasing demand, merely maintaining current funding levels is not enough. We request a total of $1.284 billion for the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program in Fiscal Year 2024, including equal funding for congregate and home-delivered nutrition services at $562 million each and $160 million for the Nutrition Services Incentive Program.
We urge the President and Congress to come together before the March 8 deadline to settle Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations once and for all. These life-saving programs and the older adults they serve deserve better.
ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. Powered by a dedicated volunteer workforce, this network delivers a comprehensive solution that begins with a meal and is proven to enable independence and well-being through the additional benefits of tailored nutrition, social connection, safety and much more. By providing funding, programming, education, research and advocacy, 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.
Founded in 1977, the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP) is proud to be a leading organization advocating for policies and programs nourishing older adults. Our 1,110 member programs represent a wide range of essential services providers who support the nutrition, health and life quality of over 4 million older adults. For more information, go to nanasp.org.
Meals on Wheels America