Innovative Models

Find out how Innovations in Nutrition Programs and Services (INNU) grantees are successfully educating seniors about nutrition using innovative and promising practices.

About INNU

The goal of the INNU program is to enhance the quality, effectiveness, and proven outcomes of nutrition services by supporting activities that can be broadly implementation throughout the aging services network.

2018 Grantees

Eskenazi Health: Meals at Home (IN)

Modernizing the home-delivered meal program through frozen meals and a web-based app

Summary: To modernize its home-delivered meal program, Eskenazi Health’s Meals at Home looked at how frozen meals were produced, stored, and delivered. They partnered with Regenstrief Institute to develop an app for seniors to order meals, offering them a choice from 19 different frozen meal options. Seniors who were at risk of food insecurity and/or malnutrition due to their health were provided with two meals a day for 30 weeks. In a post-project assessment, more than 90 percent of respondents said they would like to continue receiving the frozen meals and would recommend the program. 


Carter Burden Network: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet (NY)

Improving heart health with an evidence-based program focused on diet, education, and self-efficacy

Summary: To address high blood pressure among seniors, Carter Burden Network (CBN) partnered with the Rockefeller University Center (RU) for Clinical and Translational Science and Clinical Directors Network (CDN). The project tested whether a dietary intervention at a congregate meal site ― combined with educational, social, and behavioral interventions — could lower blood pressure. The dietary intervention used was the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. While the DASH diet has been proven to lower blood pressure, it had not been studied in congregate meal sites for seniors who live in community dwellings. The project showed several positive outcomes, including a decrease in blood pressure among participants, and can serve as a blueprint for senior centers nationwide. 


Erie County Department of Senior Services: Modernizing the Congregate Dining Program (NY) 

Decreasing barriers and increasing choice through a flexible, technology-driven meal program

Summary: To modernize its congregate dining program, the Albany County Department for Aging and the Erie County Department of Senior Services partnered with local restaurants to give participants more flexibility in how and where they dine. Adults 60 or older could eat at any participating restaurant at a time of their choice. The study had a number of positive outcomes, including decreasing feelings of social isolation in older adults. The study also demonstrated the need for more progressive, self-driven services for older adults.



2017 Grantees

Health Promotion Council: Taking Charge of Diabetes (PA)

Decreasing diabetes-related hospitalizations through a nutrition-focused Type 2 diabetes self-management intervention

Summary: To address patient care beyond the clinical walls, Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Inc. offered a multi-component, home-based intervention to improve health outcomes at the patient level, and reduce health care costs at the system level, for adults 65+ with Type 2 Diabetes.


Iowa Department on Aging: Linn County Innovations in Nutrition Program (IA)

Improving health outcomes by collaborating with community partners on a unique congregate meals delivery model

Summary: To develop an innovative, replicable service delivery model for congregate meals, the Iowa Department on Aging partnered with Heritage Area Agency on Aging to create the “Encore Café.” This café concept was designed to encourage older adults to participate in congregate meal programs. In particular, the project aimed to attract the younger sub-population of older adults called “Baby Boomers” who had a smaller percentage of participation in recent years.


Live ON NY: Addressing Oral Health & Effectiveness of Home Delivered Meals in NYC (NY)

Addressing ability to eat among homebound older adults through a modified meals program

Summary: To build the evidence needed to improve the effectiveness of home delivered meals (HDMs), Live ON NY partnered with several organizations to provide therapeutic meals modified to align with dental and oral function and promoting oral health and dental care.


Maryland Department on Aging: Innovations in Nutrition Programs & Services (MD)

Tackling malnutrition through improvements to a statewide delivery system

Summary: To transform their senior nutrition program, the Maryland Department of Aging used the epidemic of older adult malnutrition as the catalyst to introduce evidence based practices, cost-cutting measures, innovative meal products, and efficient service delivery methods to forge new health care linkages and expand service to older adults in the community.


Mid-America Regional Council: Connecting Clients Using Smart Speaker Technology (MO)

Improving client service through advanced data-card technology 

Summary: To improve service delivery and cost-effectiveness of nutrition programs for older adults at risk of malnutrition, the Mid-America Regional Council and Aging Ahead Area Agency on Aging deployed artificial intelligence enabled speakers, Amazon Echo Show, to clients' homes to reduce access barriers to good nutrition.


University of Utah School of Medicine: Impact of Nutrition Home Visitations (UT)

Assessing malnutrition risk through a high-quality home visitation program

Summary: To demonstrate an evidence-based relationship, University of Utah School of Medicine looked at the impact of targeted nutrition home visitation assessments and care planning on the health outcomes of recently discharged home delivered meal (HDM) recipients at malnutrition risk.



Other Resources on Innovation


Last modified on 10/22/2021

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