University of Massachusetts Amherst

It's MORE Than A Meal


Nutrition & Adult Day Health Programs

the role of your program in promoting health

Recent trends show that more Americans than ever are living longer lives. These days, few older adults live in nursing homes. The majority of older adults live in a community setting with a spouse, family members, or friends, or alone. Preventive health can help maintain or improve their independence and quality of life.

Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of preventive health. Since older adults in day health programs eat many of their meals in this setting, your program can help contribute to a healthful diet. Your program can also play a role (when appropriate) in encouraging physical activity to help improve well-being, increase flexibility, improve bone health, and reduce the risk of falls leading to injuries or fractures.

Many older adults face changes that can affect their food intake and nutritional status. The changes may be physical, health-related, social, or psychological. The nature and extent of these changes will vary among adults. Good nutrition can address many of these changes to help older adults improve their health and maintain their quality of life.

This manual will focus on nutrition and health, nutrients in foods, special needs of older adults, and cultural issues and foods that may be relevant to your program. It will show you how to apply this information to plan healthful meals, and to choose foods that qualify for reimbursement from the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The manual is accompanied by educational materials that you can share with staff, older adults, and caregivers. As you expand your knowledge about nutrition, foods, and cultural issues, you can play a greater role in promoting your participants’ health and well-being.

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Developed for the Massachusetts Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program by the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Permission is hereby granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education to copy any or all parts of this document for non-commercial educational purposes. The Massachusetts Department of Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.