Applicants must be an Older American Act (OAA) Title III recipient, or have a signed letter of commitment from a key partner that receives Title III funds. Foreign entities are not eligible to compete for, or receive, awards made under this announcement.
The Older Americans Act (OAA), administered by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) provides funding to support a wide array of home and community-based services (HCBS) within a long-term services and support system. The purpose of these services is to maximize the independence, well-being and health of older adults and allow them to live at home for as long as possible.
The OAA Nutrition Program helps older Americans remain healthy and independent in their communities by providing meals and related services in a variety of community settings (including congregate facilities such as senior centers) and via home-delivery to older adults who are homebound due to illness, disability, or geographic isolation. The ACL funds services in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and five territories through a network of 622 area agencies on aging and more than 7,000 local nutrition service providers through Title III. Services are provided to adults age 60 and older in Title III programs. In addition to the Title III program in states and territories, the OAA funds nutrition services for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. Native American Nutrition and Supportive Services, Title VI, provides grants to over 276 eligible tribal organizations to promote the delivery of Nutrition and Home and Community-Based Supportive Services to Native elders through Title VI. In Title VI programs, the tribal organization determines eligibility age.
The purposes of nutrition services are to reduce hunger and food insecurity, promote socialization, and delay the onset of adverse health conditions through the provision of meals and associated nutrition services to vulnerable older adults who are in greatest social and economic need. This includes older adults who are low-income, minority, rural, those with limited English proficiency and those at risk for institutionalization. The services include congregate and home-delivered meals, nutrition screening, assessment, counseling and education, as well as opportunities for social engagement, information on healthy aging, access to other HCBS services such as transportation, physical activity, and evidence-based programs such as chronic disease self-management.
Meals are required to meet the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as well as the Dietary Reference Intakes. These services help older adults maintain their physical, mental and social health and manage nutrition-related diseases such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes. OAA programming is person-centered to provide a mix of services to meet the widely differing needs of a diverse population of older adults.
Additional purposes of OAA services, including nutrition services, is to address social determinants of health which are defined in Healthy People 2020 as "the conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks". These include access to and availability of healthy food, food insecurity, social support and engagement, transportation options, access to health care, health literacy, and availability of community resources necessary for daily living, etc.
Purpose and Goals of this Announcement:
The purpose of this funding opportunity is to support the demonstration and documentation of innovative projects that enhance the quality, effectiveness, and other proven outcomes of nutrition services programs within the aging services network. It is critical that ACL work with the aging services network to modernize these services to ensure that nutrition services are achieving their intended outcomes, and that every dollar is spent effectively to ensure the sustainability of these services.
The goal of this funding opportunity is to support projects that can demonstrate potential for broad implementation throughout the aging services network, and with demonstrated value, i.e., improvements in participant well-being, cost savings, etc. Applicants must explain how their proposal is innovative, explain its potential impact on the aging services network, and explain how broad implementation and scaling of this innovation can be achieved (should the project prove successful). Innovations must target services to underserved older adults with greatest social and economic need, and individuals at risk for institutional placement, to permit such individuals to remain in home and community-based settings as indicated in the OAA.
Applicants must provide measurable project and participant level outcomes. Outcomes can include, but are not limited to: increased collaboration with local health care entities/Indian Health Services; improved well-being in the OAA target population (particularly those that benefit from the senior nutrition program); decreased health care utilization and/or need for costly institutional care; and increased access to benefits such as food assistance and opportunities for social connectedness.
Applicants’ proposals must focus on at least one of the following priority areas:
Modernizing the congregate meal program infrastructure, delivery mechanisms, and/or marketing and outreach - examples could include, but are not limited to:
Enhancing socialization opportunities
Creating virtual congregate meal technologies, especially for applicability in times of emergency
Decreasing food waste
Increasing meals served and consumed
Decreasing overhead cost and increasing revenues
Developing new approaches for volunteer recruitment and retention
Increasing person-centered practice models that address food preferences of participants and;
Incorporating traditional activities in Title VI programs to decrease program costs and enhance cultural practices and/or similar strategies
Modernizing the home delivered meal program infrastructure, delivery mechanisms, and/or marketing and outreach - examples could include, but are not limited to:
Developing diverse volunteer roles
Creating varied delivery/service models
Developing sustainable approaches to service delivery that produce positive client social outcomes
Incorporating innovative methods of addressing social determinants of health in home delivered meal models
Enhancing partnerships between health care partners and/or Indian Health clinics and community-based organizations to further demonstrate the network's value in solving local and national problems - examples could include, but are not limited to:
Decreasing social isolation and food insecurity
Addressing social determinants of health
Developing effective suicide prevention strategies
Promoting the bidirectional relationship between diet/nutrition and oral health in older adults and;
Developing enhancements that complement medical services, decreasing fall risk by increasing meal delivery, and targeting people with specific health condition(s) in an effort to decrease overall health care utilization of that population
Advancing the use of technology within the aging services network - examples could include, but are not limited to:
Investigating sustainable telehealth applicability for the network
Developing web-based ordering systems
Streamlining business practices and;
Establishing feedback procedures in the aging services network
The examples noted within the priority areas provided above are not meant to be exhaustive. Applicants are allowed to submit other innovative topics as long as they align with at least one of the priority areas.
An innovation funded through this announcement must:
Include the introduction of a new product, service, or process that has strong potential for replication by the aging services network using OAA funding or
Include the introduction of a significant enhancement to an existing product, service, or process that has strong potential for replication by the aging services network using OAA funding.
Applicants should ask themselves the question, "Is this truly innovative" when conceptualizing ideas. Applicants should also reference previously funded ACL Innovation in Nutrition projects to prevent duplication of efforts.
A separate announcement (HHS-2020-ACL-AOA-INNU-0403) invites Innovations in Nutrition projects with a focus on Research. Applicants are only allowed to apply to one of the Innovations in Nutrition opportunities - Demonstration or Research.
Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living. (2019) Fiscal Year 2020 Justification for Estimates for Appropriations Committees. https://acl.gov/about-acl/budget
Administration for Community Living. (2019) Nutrition Services. https://acl.gov/programs/health-wellness/nutrition-services
 Department of Health and Human Services Office of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. (2020) Social Determinants of Health. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-deter…