The need for good nutrition does not diminish as a person ages. It is essential for older adults to maintain a proper diet to stay healthy and independent in their later, more vulnerable years.
There are several issues that make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet as a person ages, including:
• Loss of appetite;
• Physical and/or mental impairments that prevent leaving the home to grocery shop and/or to prepare meals at home;
• Lack of income to buy enough food, or enough of the right kinds of foods. Many on low incomes must decide among rent, medications, utility bills and food each month, and food often loses out to the other essentials.
• Isolation and lack of interest in cooking “just for me.”
These are just some of the issues that put older adults at high risk of inadequate nutrition. The risk is higher for older adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and/or hypertension. It’s estimated that 80% of all older adults have one chronic condition, and 50% have two or more. Inadequate nutrition makes it especially difficult for these older adults to maintain a higher quality of life.
Volunteers of America provides individuals 60 years of age or older with nutrition services, including: meals, nutrition education and counseling, and information about - and assistance in accessing - other services.
Eligible older adults are invited to join us for lunch at one of thirty (30) Congregate Dining Centers located throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area, including Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin and Jefferson counties. There are many interesting, beneficial services and activities available at the Congregate Dining Centers to keep program participants healthy, active, and involved with friends and community.
Volunteers of America also provides home-bound older adults with hot or frozen Meals on Wheels, delivered to their homes daily or weekly by friendly volunteers. Volunteers check on clients and report any problems to program staff.
Program meals contain one-third of the recommended Dietary Reference Intakes for older adults. They are nutrient-dense and provide the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals older adults need.
Staff dietitians monitor the nutritional status of program participants, and provide nutrition education and counseling at the Congregate Dining Centers and for homebound clientele. The program goal is to help participants achieve and maintain better health, resulting in an improved ability to remain independent, in their own homes. Volunteers of America also conducts evidence-based health and wellness programming for low-income older adults at several senior housing facilities in the Denver area.
Please check our website for more information about our Congregate Dining Centers or Meals on Wheels Program. Go to www.voacolorado.org., and then click on the Nutrition Services tab to the right of the page.
If you need Meals on Wheels, or are interested in attending one of our Congregate Dining Centers, or know someone in need of either service, you are encouraged to call 303-294-0111 and ask to speak to a Program Coordinator.
If you live outside of our service area and want to contact nutrition programs for the elderly in other areas of Colorado, go to the Colorado Association of Nutrition Services Directors website (www.cansd.org) and click on the “About Us” tab, then on the “Find a Program” tab.
The Volunteers of America Nutrition Programs for the Elderly are funded in part by the Denver Regional Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging. For more information about other Older Americans Act programs, go to www.drcog.org,, then click on the Area Agency on Aging tab to the left of the page. You may also call 303-455-1000 and ask for the Area Agency on Aging.
Volunteers of America needs community support for the nutrition programs. We must raise a significant percentage of our annual operating budget from the local community to pay for the meals and other nutrition services, and we depend almost entirely on volunteers for meal delivery. Many program participants contribute whatever they can afford to help pay for the meals, but because most of them have very low incomes, the average contribution is small. No one is denied service - or otherwise discriminated against in any way - due to an inability to make a contribution.
We encourage you to call 303-294-0111 if you are interested in becoming a program volunteer or would like to make a contribution to support the Volunteers of America Nutrition Programs for the Elderly.