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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 implemented throughout the aging services network.

2018 Grantees

Modernizing HDMs through frozen meals and a web-based app in Indiana

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% of respondents said they would like to continue receiving the frozen meals and would recommend the program. 


Improving heart health through diet, education, and self-efficacy in New York

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. 


Increasing choice through a flexible, technology-driven meal program in New York

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 and 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.


Supporting older adults at risk of suicide through nutrition services in Georgia

Summary: To enhance identification and support of older adults with elevated suicide risk or in mental health distress (ESR/MHD), the Atlanta Regional Commission (Atlanta Area Agency on Aging), in partnership with affiliate nutrition service providers and Georgia State University researchers, developed a standardized and manualized suicide intervention to be delivered by nutrition services volunteers. Through a series of related studies, they found that nutrition services volunteers and providers can develop suicide intervention skills, and when they do, use those skills as part of their job role and provide life assisting suicide interventions to the older adults they serve.


Increasing use of community-based resources by food-insecure seniors in Illinois

Summary: To decrease the prevalence of food insecurity, Age Options designed their Closed Loop Referral System project. The project aimed to increase the likelihood that patients experiencing food insecurity and/or at nutrition risk would receive and act upon referrals to community-based resources.


2017 Grantees

Offering nutrition-focused diabetes self-management in Pennsylvania

Summary: To address patient care beyond the clinic 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 and older with Type 2 Diabetes.


Collaborating with community partners on a congregate meal delivery model in Iowa 

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 subpopulation of older adults called “Baby Boomers,” who had a smaller percentage of participation in recent years.


Addressing ability to eat with modified meals in NYC

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 promote oral health and dental care.


Tackling malnutrition through a statewide delivery system in Maryland

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.


Improving client service through advanced data-card technology in Missouri 

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.


  • Summary Brief (snapshot of project and findings)
  • Intervention Manual (manual containing all participant training and communication materials for intervention implementation)
Assessing malnutrition risk through a home visitation program in Utah

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

INNU Grantees

Capstone Project Templates

Detailed Agenda Template

Semiannual Reports

Other Resources

Last modified on 05/09/2024

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