Ongevity trends and aging “baby boomers ”

According to Nutrition Insights (1999), the population of the elderly in the United States of America is heightened by longevity trends and aging “baby boomers. ” It was projected that by 2050, there will be 19 million of elderly Americans. However, this projection has been made in 1999; in a more recent projection by Gerberding (2008), just by 2030, there will be about 71 million elderly in USA. Their increase will also demand an increase for public health service, aging services and a more effectual health care system.

It was also projected that health care expenses will go up to 25% (Gerberding, 2008). Nowadays, there is increased attention given towards providing health services to the elderly (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008). The case is also the same in the United Kingdom, where it is projected that 30% of UK will fall under the elderly category come 2030 as people begin to live longer (British Nutrition Foundation, 2004). Services for Elderly Nutrition

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has provided The Nutrition Safety Net (Help for the Elderly and Disabled) which is a primer that guarantees access for eligible households and individuals to Food Stamp Program (FSP). It has the purpose of decreasing the barriers between FSP and those who are greatly in need of it, who are the elderly and the disabled. Moreover, it intends to increase their improvement in the program (United States Department of Agriculture, n. d. ).

The primer defined elderly as an individual who is sixty years old and above as also stated in Section 3 of the Food Stamp Act (FSA) and 7 CFR 271. 2(d) of the food stamp regulations. According to the primer, the elderly are hesitant to apply for food stamps because of embarrassment of being in a welfare office and in using food stamps for purchasing food. There are also others who do not want to avail the help that is being provided by the government, thinking that their family and relatives would not be supportive of them.

The primer suggested that food stamps to be given should be de-linked from welfare and should assure and maintain the dignity of the elderly who apply for them (United States Department of Agriculture, n. d. ). It should also make clear that the elderly could authorize other people to apply for food stamps in their behalf. Moreover, the individual states could also help them by verifying information through home visits and collateral contacts to avoid difficulties on the side of the elderly of gathering documents for verification.

The elderly may also find fraud prevention procedures humiliating and daunting, hence, the primer suggested to modify these procedures to encourage the elderly to apply for food stamps. The application form should also be simplified as to avoid the elderly from being confused (United States Department of Agriculture, n. d. ). Other elderly nutrition programs provided by the US government for its elderly citizens has been increased and enhanced due to the growing population of the elderly in the country.

There is the Administration on Aging’s Elderly Nutrition Program which offers grants for the nutritional health of the elderly (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Some of these grants are Title III (Grants for State and Community Programs on Aging) and Title VI (Grants for Native Americans) which are both under the Older Americans Act. These grants aim to enhance the dietary eating of the concerned population and to provide opportunities to build friendship and informal social networks (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).

The Elderly Nutrition Program (ENP) offers collected and home-delivered meals to a diversity of group settings. These meals are required to have at least one-third of the suggested dietary allowance imposed by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans released by the Secretaries of Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). The ENP also offers a number of services through 4,000 nutrition service providers.

These services include nutrition screening, assessment, education and counseling, and special health assessments. These services help the elderly to learn how to prepare themselves affordable and healthy meals. Moreover, the people who volunteer to deliver the meals to the elderly help them to erase their feeling of seclusion by spending ample time with them – they are also assigned by the ENP to take note of the status of the elderly individual and report it to the ENP (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).

Every elderly is entitled to be part of the ENP; however, this Program gives more priority to those who are short economically and socially, and those who are in the minority categories, who do not have adequate financial earnings. Those in the rural areas are also given premium priority (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). The ENP also caters to the spouses of the elderly regardless of their age, the disabled person living with the elderly and the volunteers themselves.

In the case of natives, namely, the American Indians, the Alaskan Natives and the Native Hawaiians, they are given the privilege to set the age qualifications of their elderly; hence, they are the ones responsible for stating whether or not an elderly from their heritage is already qualified to join the Program (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). In 2003, the study entitled Pilot Study: First National Survey of Older Americans Act Title III Service Recipients assessed the services that were provided by Human Services and Agriculture.

According to the study, the 3 million elderly who are participating in the Elderly Nutrition Program were able to acquire 40% to 50% of the nutrition that they need (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Moreover, the National Aging Services Network was given high ratings by their participants, it was also regarded as efficient in focusing on the susceptible population, lastly, it has been successful in giving the needs of the elderly and their caregivers to avoid early nursing home placement by sustaining their independence (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).

The said study also stated that the home-delivered nutrition services were efficient among the susceptible population because it was able to assist the elderly from this group of people who are mostly 75 years old and are suffering from difficulties regarding their activities of daily living or (ADLs) (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). Moreover, it was also able to reach out to the socially isolated elderly. The services also prioritized those who are in most need which are characterized as 73% who have high nutritional risk and 25% at moderate risk.

From the total population, 62% of them only got their daily food from the deliveries and 25% do not have the financial resources and food stamps to avail themselves some food (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2008). The same results were stated in the study of Millen, Ohls, Ponza and McCool (2002) entitled The Elderly Nutrition Program: an Effective National Framework for Preventive Nutrition Interventions. The study tackled the ENP’s influence on nutritional health, the objectives and the costs of the services it provides and the policy implications.

The results of the study were that the ENP was providing assembled and home-delivered meals and other services to 7% of the elderly (Millen, et al. , 2002). The study also stated that home-based participants are better taken cared of as they are more properly nourished – not only physically but also socially as these elderly are accorded high levels of socialization. The funding of ENP are from public and private sources, enough for the ENP to double the services it provides (Millen, et al. , 2002).

As a conclusion, the ENP is a well-focused and efficient federal program in giving the elderly population with community-based and home-delivered services. It has the capacity to lead for future preventive nutrition intervention programs (Millen, et al. , 2002). There are also programs in each state of the US, for example, McCarney, Hawthorne, Reddy, Lombardo, Cress and Johnson (2003) discussed a program called “Take Charge of Your Health for Older Adults” in their article entitled A Statewide Educational Intervention to Improve Older Americans’ Nutrition and Physical Activity.

“Take Charge of Your Health for Older Adults” is another community-based and statewide intervention program which aims to improve the nutritional status, functional ability and physical activity of the elderly population in Georgia. A study was conducted – a pre-test and a post-test – among 501 elderly, and based on the results, the responses from the pre-test were improved totally after the said intervention of the program (McCarney, et al. , 2003).

Other programs are the Meals on Wheels; Professor Heather Keller of the University of Guelph studied 263 elderly who are participants of the said program (Guelph Tribune, 2006). Her findings were that the elderly who participated in the said program have improved in their nutrition. The study was conducted on an 18-month period. At the start of the study, 42% of the elderly are at high nutritional risk, while at the end of the study, the percentage was decreased to 30% (Guelph Tribune, 2006).

Keller has concluded that being in nutritional risk will experience weight change as it decreases, hence, leading to malnourishment. Another factor of the improvement of the elderly population is the support of their family and relatives. She concluded that programs such as Meals on Wheels are efficient in improving the nutritional status of the elderly; hence, thus she encouraged the elderly population to change their opinions regarding these programs (Guelph Tribune, 2006).

Another type of service for the elderly population is the Nutrition Screening Initiative where health care professionals were given the necessary information and resources to diagnose and treat poor nutrition. This initiative was a project of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Dietetic Association and National Council on the Aging, and funded by the Ross Laboratories (Ham, 1991). The said initiative also focused on the importance of the aspects of poor nutrition among the elderly and has been focusing its efforts on raising awareness (Ham, 1991).

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