"Food insecurity is not simply hunger. Food insecurity is actually the thoughts and the feelings of not knowing where your next meal is going to come from, not knowing how you are going to get to that next meal." That's how TCAD Aging Nutrition Program Director Lacey Aviles defined food insecurity for Nashville Public Television in this 2017 episode of Aging Matters.
Nutritive needs can become more complicated as we age and our bodies change, and access to food is not the same as access to healthy food. Likewise, while older adults may have food in their homes or money to purchase food, some may not have the ability to prepare the food or the transportation needed to buy it. These are problems not just for Tennessee's older adults but older adults nationwide.
In 2015, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability network served over 800,000 congregate meals. These healthy, tasty meals are served at nearly 200 senior centers, community centers, and other locations across the state. These centers serve meals Monday through Friday, except on holidays. Meals are available to anyone 60 years old and older, as well as their spouses, at no cost. Donations are appreciated and encouraged. Donations allow for more meals to be served to older Tennesseans.
Senior and community centers also offer many activities and opportunities to make friends. Activities include exercise classes and bingo, health education and screening, shopping assistance, transportation, and information assistance.
In 2015, the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability network served over 1.3 million home-delivered meals. Home-delivered meal service, also known as Meals on Wheels, helps older Tennesseans who are sick or homebound get the food they need. Meals are designed to support good health and taste good. The meal delivery person provides a friendly visit and a safety check. Meals are served at no cost, but donations from on-site participants are appreciated and encouraged. Donations allow for more nutritious meals to be served to homebound older Tennesseans.
To find out more about congregate and home-delivered meal options in your area, contact your Area Agency on Aging and Disability. They can tell you if you are eligible, as well as provide the locations of nutrition centers in your community.
Aging Nutrition Program Director