Definition and Purpose

The Senior Nutrition Program consists of both Congregate and Home-Delivered Nutrition Services to help increase the nutrient intake of older individuals who might not eat adequately, and, through better nutrition, assist them to remain healthy and independent in their communities. Hot or other appropriate meals are served five or more days per week, where feasible. Each meal served contains at least one-third of the current Recommended Dietary Allowances as established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. A variety of nutrition services may also be provided, such as nutrition assessment, education, therapy, and counseling.

Congregate Nutrition Services (CNS) are offered in a variety of settings, such as senior and community centers, churches, schools, and adult day care facilities. In these settings, participants are given the opportunity to form new friendships and to interact in a social environment. In addition to nutrition services, supportive services, such as transportation, shopping assistance, physical activity programs, health screening, health promotion, and other services may be available.

Home-Delivered Nutrition Services (HDNS) provide nutritious meals delivered to individual residences and other nutrition services to older persons who are normally unable to leave their homes without assistance and are vulnerable according to the criteria in Section III. Services are intended to maintain or improve the nutritional status of these individuals, support their independence, prevent premature institutionalization, and allow earlier discharge from hospitals, nursing homes, or other residential care facilities.

The CNS and HDNS are authorized by the Older Americans Act, Public Law 106-510, codified at 42 U.S.C. 3030e through 3030g. The Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP) is codified at 42 U.S.C. 3030a.