1 1 (March 24, 2020)

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               Researh Sevice






Senior Nutrition Programs' Response

to COVID-19



Updated March 24, 2020
Many older adults rely on federally funded programs that provide nutrition and other supportive services
in order to live independently in their communities. Amidst the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019
(COVID-19) pandemic, older adults as well as those with certain chronic conditions are at higher risk for
severe illness if infected with the virus. The President's Coronavirus Guidelines (March 16, 2020)
recommends older adults stay home and away from other people and, like others, avoid eating at public
establishments. Some state and local officials have released more stringent guidance that older adults self-
isolate at home. These recommendations may affect nutrition programs that many older adults rely on for
their daily nutrition intake. For example, nutrition services at group meal sites may no longer be available
or accessible. Alternatively, other nutrition services, such as home-delivered meals (e.g., meals on
wheels), may be in greater demand as older adults adhere to recommendations to stay at home.
This CRS Insight provides information on the COVID- 19 response for nutrition programs authorized
under the Older Americans Act (OAA) and administered by the Administration for Community Living
(ACL) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). For information on COVID- 19
and food assistance under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), see CRS Insight INi 1250, USDA
Domestic Food Assistance Programs'Response to COVID-19: PL. 116-127 and Related Efforts.

Older Americans Act Nutrition Programs
The OAA Nutrition Services Program provides grants to states and U.S. territories under Title III of the
act to support home-delivered and congregate nutrition programs (i.e., meals served at group sites such as
senior centers, community centers, schools, churches, and senior housing complexes) for individuals aged
60 and older. In addition, the Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP) provides funds to states, U.S.
territories, and Indian tribal organizations to purchase food or to cover the costs of food commodities
provided by the USDA for the congregate and home-delivered nutrition programs. A separate program
under Title VI of the act provides funds for supportive and nutrition services to older Native Americans
through funds awarded to tribal organizations. The Nutrition Services Program is designed to address
problems of food insecurity, promote socialization, and promote the health and well-being of older
persons through nutrition and nutrition-related services.


                                                                Congressional Research Service
                                                                  https://crsreports.congress.gov
                                                                                      IN11266

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