1 1 (April 1, 2020)

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               Researh Sevice






Senior Nutrition Programs' Response

to COVID-19



Updated April 1, 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. Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) recommends that older adults stay home, among other precautions. Some state and local officials
have issued more stringent guidance that older adults self-isolate at home or issued stay-at-home orders
for the general public. The COVID- 19 pandemic will likely 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 congregate and home-delivered nutrition programs (i.e., meals served at group sites such as
senior and community centers or schools) 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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