Celebrating 50 years of the national Senior Nutrition Program

Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) Nutrition Director Meghan Ostrander (right) and SCES Dietitian Andrea Svartstrom marked the 50th Anniversary of the Senior Nutrition Program by bringing cupcakes and a proclamation from the governor to the Cambridge Council on Aging Congregate Meals Site on March 8.

Somerville Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) is joining the Administration for Community Living and senior nutrition service providers nationwide this March to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the national Senior Nutrition Program.

Since 1972, the Senior Nutrition Program has supported nutrition services for older adults. Funded by the Older Americans Act, local senior nutrition programs serve as hubs for older adults (60 and older) to access nutritious meals and other vital services that strengthen social connections and promote health and well-being.

Senior nutrition is now more important than ever. Each year in the U.S., up to half of adults 65 and older are at-risk for malnutrition, and more than 10 million face hunger.   In communities throughout the U.S. – including our own – older adults sometimes lack access to the high-quality, nutritious food they need to remain healthy and independent. On our recent SCES meal survey, 72% reported that Meals on Wheels provides their main meal of the day.

In a citation of recognition for the milestone, Governor Charlie Baker noted that Massachusetts Meals on Wheels programs provide healthy meals and wellness checks for more than 30,000 older adults across the state each day.

As part of the Senior Nutrition Program network, SCES helps older adults in our community by promoting healthy eating, decreasing social isolation, and improving health. SCES Meals-on-Wheels provides meals to more than 1000 older adults and adults with disabilities within Somerville and Cambridge.  Our program also provides connections to home and community-based services that can support independence and overall well-being.

For 50 years, senior nutrition services have helped create healthy, strong communities where all members can flourish regardless of their age.

That’s why we proudly recognize this milestone anniversary of the national Senior Nutrition Program and its tremendous impact on the health and well-being of older adults in our community. Join us in celebrating our seniors, our program, and our community. Together, we look forward to another 50 years and beyond!

Meghan Ostrander is the Nutrition Director at Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services, a non-profit agency that supports the independence and well-being of older adults in Somerville and Cambridge. For free advice and guidance on questions of aging, caregiving or disability, contact our Aging Information Center at 617-628-2601, email info@eldercare.org, or visit our website eldercare.org.

The 50th Anniversary of Senior Nutrition Program was celebrated at the Cambridge Council on Aging Congregate Meal site on March 8 with a special desert. On hand for the occasion were (from left) Somerville-Cambridge Elder Services (SCES) Dietitian Andrea Svartstrom, Marquita Lawrence, Cambridge Citywide Senior Center Director Alicia Johnson, Cheryl Roust, SCES Nutrition Director Meghan Ostrander, and Thelma Howard.