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Older Americans Act Aging Services Network

The National Policy and Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging (Center) works closely with agencies and organizations that administer or provide nutrition services and/or funds to serve older adults. This section provides a brief description of the agencies and programs that provide assistance.

Administration on Aging

Administration on Aging (AoA)
The Older Americans Act (OAA) established the AoA under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. AoA is the federal focal point and advocacy agency for older persons, as mandated by the OAA, and administers most OAA programs at the federal level. These programs provide assistance to older persons and their caregivers, as well as critical support services, such as nutrition and transportation, for older persons at risk of being prematurely or unnecessarily institutionalized. AoA Document Index.

Older Americans Nutrition Program (OANP)
The OANP provides grants to support nutrition services to older people throughout the country. The OANP, authorized under Title III, Grants for State and Community Programs on Aging, and Title VI, Grants for Native Americans, under the Older Americans Act, is intended to improve the dietary intakes of participants and to offer participants opportunities to form new friendships and to create informal support networks. Through Title III, grants are provided to the aging network which is made up of the 57 State Units on Aging (SUA's) and their 655 Area Agencies on Aging (AAA's) and through Title VI, to 221 Tribal Organizations, representing American Indian, Alaskan Natives, and Native Hawaiians, to promote the delivery of nutrition services in local communities.

The OANP provides for congregate and home-delivered meals. These meals and other nutrition services are provided in a variety of settings, such as senior centers, schools, and in individual homes. Meals served under the program must provide at least one-third of the daily recommended dietary allowances established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council. In practice, the ENP's 3.1 million elderly participants are receiving an estimated 40 to 50 percent of most required nutrients.

The OANP also provides a range of related services, by some of the aging network's estimated 4,000 nutrition service providers, including nutrition screening, assessment, education and counseling. These services help older participants to identify their general and special nutrition needs, as they may relate to health concerns such as hypertension and diabetes.

The services help older participants to learn to shop for, and/or to plan and prepare, meals that are economical and which help to manage or ameliorate specific health problems as well as enhancing their health and well-being. The congregate meal programs also provide older people with positive social contacts with other older adults at the group meal sites.

For more information about the program and it's 30th Anniversary, go to Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs Resource Page.

The Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP)
NSIP is the new name for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) cash or commodity program, known as the Nutrition Program for the Elderly (NPE). The NPE is administered by the Administration on Aging (AoA), but receives commodity foods and financial support from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The program is funded through an appropriation to USDA and administered by the FNS. For additional information, refer to AoA's website, Nutrition Frequently Asked Questions, #36, What is the Nutrition Services Incentive Program?

Center for Communication and Consumer Services maintains aging information resources on programs, policies and services which it uses to respond to public and staff inquiries. CCCS public inquiries and Aging Information Resource Library units are the successor to the National Aging Information Center (1995-2001)

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
CACFP plays a vital role in improving the quality of day care and making it more affordable for many low-income families. Each day, 2.6 million children receive nutritious meals and snacks through CACFP. The program also provides meals and snacks to 62,500 adults who receive care in nonresidential adult day care centers. CACFP reaches even further to provide meals to children residing in homeless shelters, and snacks and suppers to youths participating in eligible afterschool care programs.
CACFP is authorized at section 17 of the National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1766). Program regulations are issued by the USDA under 7 CFR part 226. The FNS administers CACFP through grants to States. The program is administered within most States by the State educational agency. The child care component and the adult day care component of CACFP may be administered by different agencies within a State, at the discretion of the Governor.

The Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP)
SFMNPP is a new program established by USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). Under the program, CCC will make grants to States and Indian tribal governments to provide coupons to low-income older adults that may be exchanged for eligible foods at farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community supported agriculture programs.

The purposes of the Seniors Farmers' Market Nutrition Program are to (1) provide resources in the form of fresh, nutritious, unprepared, locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs from farmers' markets, roadside stands and community supported agriculture programs to low-income older adults, (2) increase the domestic consumption of agricultural commodities by expanding or aiding in the expansion of domestic farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community support agriculture programs, and (3) develop or aid in the development of new and additional farmers' markets, roadside stands, and community support agriculture programs.

National Directory of Farmers Market and Direct Marketing
The United States has 41 local, State, regional, and national farmers market and direct marketing associations. These associations are a valuable resource for farm direct marketers as they offer many benefits and services such as member and consumer directories, conferences, workshops, tours, newsletters, certification, insurance, and government relations. This project was undertaken though a cooperative agreement with the North American Farmers Direct Marketing Association. The second phase of this project involves the development of a manual, to be available this fall, on how to start and advance a farm direct marketing association.

The Food Stamp Program
The Food Stamp Program provides benefits to low-income people that they can use to buy food to improve their diets. Food stamp recipients spend their benefits (in the form of paper coupons or electronic benefits on debit cards) to buy eligible food in authorized retail food stores. The purpose of the Food Stamp Program is to end hunger and improve nutrition and health. It helps low-income households buy the food they need for a nutritionally adequate diet. The program is operated by State and local welfare offices, and the Federal Government oversees the State operation of the Program.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)
CSFP works to improve the health of low-income pregnant and breastfeeding women, other new mothers up to one year postpartum, infants, children up to age six, and older adults at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA commodity foods. It provides food and administrative funds to States to supplement the diets of these groups.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
TEFAP is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing them with emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. Under TEFAP, commodity foods are made available by USDA to States. States provide the food to local agencies that they have selected, usually food banks, which in turn, distribute the food to soup kitchens and food pantries that directly serve the public. TEFAP is administered at the Federal level by the FNS. State agencies receive the food and supervise overall distribution.

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OAA Aging Network Organizations

National Association of State Units on Aging (NASUA)
NASUA was founded in 1964 as a national non-profit membership organization comprised of the 57 state and territorial government agencies on aging.
Directory of State and Area Agencies on Aging from AoA

State Unit on Aging Nutritionist Network (SUANN)
The mission of SUANN is to provide a framework for networking, sharing best practices, providing continuing education opportunities, and advocating for the health and well being of older adults. SUANN membership is limited to Nutritionists and/or Nutrition Program Administrators employed by a State Unit on Aging. A webpage is available to SUANN members from the Center's website.
Directory of SUA and AoA Nutritionists/Administrators

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A)
N4A is the umbrella organization for the 655 area agencies on aging (AAAs) and more than 230 Title VI Native American aging programs in the U.S. Through its presence in Washington, D.C., N4A advocates on behalf of the local aging agencies to ensure that needed resources and support services are available to older Americans. The fundamental mission of the AAAs and Title VI programs is to provide services that make it possible for older individuals to remain in their home, thereby preserving their independence and dignity. These agencies coordinate and support a wide range of home- and community-based services, including information and referral, home-delivered and congregate meals, transportation, employment services, senior centers, adult day care and a long-term care ombudsman program.

Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA)
MOWAA represents those who provide congregate and home-delivered meals services to people in need. Most members are executive directors, Registered or Licensed Dietitians, volunteer coordinators, or nutrition directors at Meals On Wheels and congregate programs. Membership in MOWAA is diverse and also includes AIDS nutrition programs, soup kitchens, Area Agencies on Aging and State Units on Aging. MOWAA works in partnership with many for-profit companies to provide products and/or services to MOWAA members at a reduced rate.

National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP)
NANASP is a professional membership organization with members drawn primarily from persons working in or interested in the field of aging, community-based services, and nutrition and the elderly. Founded in the 1970s, NANASP is one of the leadership organizations in that it helps shape national policy, trains service providers, and advocates on behalf of older adults.

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Medicare and Medicaid Services

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
The CMS is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CMS runs the Medicare and Medicaid programs - two national health care programs that benefit about 75 million Americans.

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Service (HCBS) Waiver Program
HCBS waivers afford States the flexibility to develop and implement creative alternatives to placing Medicaid-eligible individuals in hospitals, nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities. The HCBS waiver program recognizes that many individuals at risk of being placed in these facilities can be cared for in their homes and communities, preserving their independence and ties to family and friends at a cost no higher than that of institutional care.

The Medicaid Program and Nutrition Services
Position of the American Dietetics Association. Pprovides an overview of the Medicaid Program and the coverage of nutrition services.

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National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity & Aging
| Florida International University, OE 200, Miami, FL 33199
Phone: 305-348-1517 | Fax: 305-348-1518 | E-mail:

This website is supported, in part, by a grant from the Administration on Aging, Department of Health and Human
Services (DHHS). Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their
findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, reflect official DHHS policy.