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For immediate release: August 29, 2016
Contact: Craig Smith
Phone: 518-402-3130

$74 Million Announced to Support Nutritional and Health Services for Older New Yorkers

Funding Provides Access to Healthy Meals and Promotes Health Through Nutrition Counseling and Education and Leverages Additional $98 Million from Municipalities and Program Participant Contributions

New York State has announced $74.6 million in state and federal funding for New York's 59 county-based area agencies on aging to support programs that improve older individuals' access to nutritional and disease prevention services. These services currently help more than 238,000 older New Yorkers prevent or reduce the effect of chronic disease associated with diet and weight; strengthen the link between nutrition and physical activity for a healthy lifestyle; and improve access to nutritional information, education, counseling, and healthy foods. This year's commitment will generate an additional $98.3 million in funding from municipalities, plus an additional $11.5 million in direct voluntary contributions from program participants.

"New Yorkers help their neighbors in their time of need and, with this funding, we will help ensure some of our most vulnerable citizens are not in danger of going hungry, maintain their health, and manage or reduce chronic diseases," the Governor said. "I thank the members of New York’s Congressional delegation for their efforts to secure this funding to protect seniors in every corner of this state."

The nutritional needs of older adults become more critical with advancing age. Poor diet and physical inactivity are among the leading causes of disability among Americans, and cause one-third of premature deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Malnutrition affects one out of four older Americans living in the community and is a factor in half of all hospital admissions and readmissions of older people.

The broad range of nutrition services supported by this program work to combat these trends by helping provide:

  • Healthy dining options for 175,000 older adults annually at more than 700 community congregate meal sites;
  • Nutritious home-delivered meals for 62,000 older individuals annually through more than 1,900 home-delivered meal routes;
  • Nutrition counseling, education, and health promotion services for more than 300,000 older adults every year; and
  • Assistance with applying for other benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to combat hunger and improve health outcomes.

A regional breakdown of the funding is as follows:

  • Capital Region: $4,201,010
  • Central NY: $3,050,354
  • Finger Lakes: $4,709,902
  • Long Island: $7,619,110
  • Mid-Hudson: $7,362,861
  • Mohawk Valley: $2,789,459
  • New York City: $33,305,435
  • North County: $2,544,516
  • Southern Tier: $3,232,868
  • Western NY: $5,810,585

New York State Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, "Good nutrition is the cornerstone of good health, and New York consistently ranks at the top nationally in providing nutritious meals to older adults in need. For older New Yorkers who may have difficulty shopping and preparing meals, are in need of guidance regarding their diets for medical reasons, or can benefit from a social environment with access to other services and benefits, this program is essential."

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, "I am very pleased that the Governor is investing on educating the elderly on proper nutrition and physical activities that can increase their wellbeing. As a longtime promoter of the Rangel Resolution health initiative which encourages drinking more water, eating superfoods and increasing fitness, I know that health begins with the choices we make with our food and how we take care of our bodies. I urge many of my constituents to take charge of their own health by utilizing the services offered by the New York State's Nutrition Program for the Elderly."

Congressman Eliot Engel said, "As people age, maintaining a healthy, nutritional diet becomes increasingly important to sustaining one's overall health. Malnutrition is one of the most pressing issues facing our senior population, and more must be done to help them access the healthy foods they need to stave off illness."

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey said, "We have a duty to ensure that vulnerable seniors across our country have access to nutrition programs that keep them healthy and safe. When seniors are unable to access or afford healthy food, they are at increased risk of developing or aggravating potentially life-threatening medical conditions. I’m pleased that these funds will help improve the health and well-being of deserving New Yorkers, and I will continue fighting to increase federal investments in programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which are critical to helping our seniors live longer, more independent lives."

Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, "Poor nutrition and physical inactivity are factors in half of all hospital admissions and readmissions of older Americans. This important initiative guarantees that the New York State Nutrition Program for the Elderly has the resources to help sustain county and local programs that provide vital nutrition and other disease prevention and health promotion services for our seniors."

Congressman Joe Crowley said, "Each night, too many New Yorkers are still going to bed hungry or malnourished and more has to be done to help the most vulnerable amongst us - including our seniors. The nutritional programs these funds will be put toward are a lifeline for our aging communities, who now more than ever, need adequate food options to support a healthier life during their golden years."

Congressman Paul Tonko said, "A focus on proper diet and health is especially critical for older Americans, and this program will give them the tools they need to live long and healthy lives in retirement."

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, "Meeting basic essential needs like health care and nutrition are critical for the wellbeing of older Americans."

Congresswoman Kathleen Rice said, "We have an important responsibility at all levels of government to ensure that our elderly neighbors have access to the healthy foods and health care services they need to live with dignity and independence. This investment will help us do that by providing more than $7.5 million in federal, state and local funding to help meet the nutritional needs of seniors on Long Island."

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik said, "It's critical that we provide the resources necessary to support our seniors and I applaud this important funding. This funding will be used to give our seniors access to quality nutrition and health services, helping to enhance quality of life."

Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "It is important to ensure that all Americans have access to basic essentials, especially food and improved health. Today's announcement is a great example of different levels of government working together to protect those most vulnerable and in need."

President of AARP NY Beth Finkel said, "A nutritious diet is important to staying healthy as we age, and staying healthy is key to aging with dignity and independence. Home-delivered meals in particular help ease the tremendous burdens on many of New York’s nearly 2.6 million unpaid family caregivers, who help loved ones age in their own homes, as the vast majority want. It’s a wise investment, delaying and preventing much more costly and mostly taxpayer-funded institutional care."

New York State Association of Counties Executive Director Steven Aquario said, "This almost $200 million in funding is critical to providing nutritious meals to our frail seniors in their homes and in other settings, such as senior centers. Counties are pleased to partner with the State Office for the Aging to keep older New Yorkers healthy and independent in the communities they call home across New York State."

President of the Association on Aging New York and director of the Oneida County Office for the Aging Michael Romano said, "[The nutrition program] is a vital part of the aging provider network’s service delivery system. Thousands of older New Yorkers are served a hot, well-balanced meal daily through county-based home delivered meal programs. As such, it has always been “more than a meal;” it ensures good health and good nutrition for many older adults with chronic conditions who are at risk of malnutrition."

LiveOn NY Board President David V. Pomeranz said, "Access to affordable and nutritional food is key to older New Yorkers aging well in their communities. The statewide community-based aging services network has been on the front line for decades, bringing nutritional food and wellness programs to the doorsteps of seniors throughout the state. As the older adult population grows rapidly, we look forward to working to ensure seniors continue to have access locally to these programs which have a successful track record in improving the health and quality of life of seniors."