Senior Nutrition Program 50th Anniversary
March 30, 2022
Supporting nutrition services for older adults since 1972
Pathlights joins the Administration for Community Living and senior nutrition service providers across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the national Senior Nutrition Program (SNP). Since 1972, the SNP has supported nutrition services for older adults. Funded by the Older Americans Act, local senior nutrition programs serve as hubs for older adults (60 and over) to access nutritious meals and other vital services that strengthen social connections and promote health and well-being.
Senior nutrition is now more important than ever. Each year in the U.S., up to half of adults aged 65 and over are at risk of malnutrition, and more than 10 million face hunger. In communities throughout the U.S. – including our own – older adults sometimes lack access to the high-quality, nutritious food they need to remain healthy and independent. Since the pandemic, Pathlights has experienced a dramatic 28% increase in demand for nutritious food and a 100% increase in requests for medically necessary special dietary meals.
As part of the SNP network, Pathlights helps older adults in our community by promoting healthy eating, decreasing social isolation, and improving health. Our program also provides connections to home and community-based services that can support independence and overall well-being. Pathlights has responded to growing needs this year by increasing home-delivered meals (4,000 meals delivered monthly), providing TopBox deliveries of fresh meat and produce, coordinating grocery delivery, delivering 1,500 boxes of shelf-stable foods (10,000 meals), and increasing the number of applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program (known as SNAP).
“For 50 years, senior nutrition services have helped create healthy, strong communities where all members can flourish regardless of their age,” says Elaine Grande, Director of Program Development. “We proudly recognize this milestone anniversary of the national SNP and its tremendous impact on the health and well-being of older adults in our community. Many older adults currently find it challenging to stretch their income to ensure their health and safety. With food prices increasing and overall higher inflation, there is no doubt that this will impact many individuals (of all ages) in our communities – forcing them to make decisions between food, life-saving prescriptions, healthcare, property taxes, and related housing costs. Along with the impact of increased food prices, we are also seeing more people struggle to access nutritious food. This especially affects those who once were able to maintain some level of independence, but are now more isolated, homebound, and have limited supports.“