GENESEO – Through congregate sites and home delivery the Livingston County Office of the Aging is helping to feed people older than 60 years old one meal at a time.
“Seventy-three percent of the people receiving meals in our county are over the age of 75 and 34% are over the age of 85. 75% are frail and have a disability. 62% live alone and 36% are living with incomes below the poverty line,” said Sue Carlock, Livingston County Office of the Aging.
At the March 8 Board of Supervisors meeting, Carlock talked about “Meals for March and the importance of getting good nutrition to those in need.
The Older Americans Act Nutrition Program was signed into law on March 22, 1972, creating the first federal program to support the health and well-being of older adults through nutrition services.
Each day, about 5,000 nutrition program providers serve an estimated 1 million meals to older Americans across the country. The programs focus on underserved communities and others in greatest need – people with low income, those in rural areas, and members of minority communities, including those with limited-English proficiency. These meals make a difference – more than half of participants report that the meal they receive through the program supplies 50% or more of their total food for the day, and more than 70% report that they eat healthier foods because of the program according to the National Council on Aging.
“For a lot of our meals recipients that daily contact with the driver may be the only person that they see during the day or even talk to,” said Carlock.
The meals are free but a suggested donation of $3 is requested though not required.
“We have some who can not afford to give anything, some give 25 cents a meal, some give $1 per meal. some give $3 a meal. We go not keep any kind of ledgers of who gives or how much they give each month. It is the same at the congregate site, we have a contribution box. People like to be able to give towards the program and be part of it,” said Carlock.
The congregate sites are in Avon, Dansville, Wildbriar Estates in Livonia, and Mount Morris. Anyone older than 60 years old is welcome to attend. In order to get a home delivered meal Carlock said certain conditions need to be met.
“In addition to being 60 years old and a resident of Livingston County you have to homebound, disabled, chronically ill, nutritionally at risk or recently discharged from the hospital, unable prepare meals for yourself and unable to attend a congregated site,” said Carlock.
The meal is carefully calculated to make sure people are getting the required nutrition. Carlock said the program doesn’t add a lot of cake and cookies to meals for a specific reason.
“The meals by regulation have to meet one-third of the daily required intake of nutrients and there are regulations about what has to be contained in the meal,” she said.
“We have a menu analysis by a registered dietician who signs off that our meals meet the federal requirements, so that we can be reimbursed for the funding and they have to meet the requirements for calories, sodium, fiber, vitamins, protein, we have to have 3 ounces of protein, no less than 650 calories, no more than 800 calories, and less than 800 milligrams of sodium per meal,” said Carlock.
The meals normally start within 10 days of a referral. It takes that long, she said, because a home assessment is done and that all attempts are to make sure that seniors can continue to live independently in their home. In addition to providing food the Office for the Aging offers additional help to the older adults.
“We also screen for benefits to see if people are eligible for HEAP or SNAP, or supplemental nutrition program or Medicare saving program which helps them with their Medicare premiums or co-pays. During COVID, we provided all of our meal recipients plus all of our people in the public with masks, sanitizer and a lot of other needed ideas,” said Carlock.
The program’s drivers not only do deliveries but get to know the residents, she said, and if something seems off, home checks are sometimes done with the help of the Livingston County Sheriffs Office to see if someone has fallen or been hurt in the home.
For more information contact the Office of the Aging at (585) 243-7520.
How to get senior meals
Congregate meal sites in Livingston County are located at:
- Village Building, 74 Genesee St., Avon (open Tuesdays through Fridays);
- Dansville United Methodist Church, 5 Chestnut Ave., Dansville, (open Mondays through Thursdays).
- Boyd & Parker VFW Post, 3 Elm St., Mount Morris, (open Mondays through Thursdays).
- Wildbriar Estates, 17 Wildbriar Drive, Livonia, (open Mondays through Thursdays).
Meals are delivered to Livingston County residents age 60 and older, regardless of income and who cannot prepare meals for themselves or attend a congregate meal site.
For more information, contact the Livingston County Office for the Aging at (585) 243-7520 or (585) 335-1732.