Aging Nutrition Program
The Aging Nutrition Program provides meals, socialization, and nutrition education and counseling to adults age 60 and over. These services are provided in 200+ congregate settings (such as senior centers or senior housing), as well as to homebound older adults in all 95 Tennessee counties. Search for a congregate meal site near you.
Good nutrition is critical to supporting independent and healthy aging. Many barriers can keep older adults from maintaining good nutrition, including lack of financial resources, poor transportation options, limited mobility, declining physical and mental health, and social isolation.
- There are over 200 locations across the state.
- Meals are available Monday through Friday, except on holidays.
- Meals are available to anyone 60+, as well as their spouses, at no cost.
- Home-delivered meal service, sometimes known as Meals on Wheels, helps sick or homebound older Tennesseans get a hot, nutritionally balanced home-delivered meal.
- The meal delivery person provides a friendly visit and a safety check.
- Meals are available to eligible homebound or frail consumers. Eligibility is assessed via an in-home assessment provided by a caseworker.
Older-Adult-Specific SNAP Outreach
- The SNAP program, formally known as "food stamps," has special eligibility criteria for older adults, which means that many seniors are eligible for SNAP benefits but are not utilizing them.
- Outreach and education on SNAP benefits and healthy eating are provided to seniors to bridge the gap in nutrition needs.
- SNAP application assistance is provided by regional coordinators who help guide consumers through the process.
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
"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.