State Unit on Aging (SUA)
Nutrition programs across the state of Colorado are a vital component to helping seniors stay independent and healthy. Good nutrition can support active aging and poor nutrition can impair quality of life. The Older Americans Act and Older Coloradans Act provide funding for nutritious meals, nutrition screening, nutrition education and counseling, health promotion and disease prevention, and physical activities.
Senior centers, senior apartments, recreation centers, and churches are examples of locations that serve meals in a group setting. The social atmosphere makes mealtime a friendly, positive experience and helps promote conversation and community. Meals are designed to meet the current Dietary Reference Intakes and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
At times, an illness or hospitalization makes it difficult to prepare a nutritious meal. An older adult may be unable to undertake this task temporarily or for a longer period of time. In these situations, it is reassuring to know that a hot, nutritious meal will be delivered by a caring volunteer.
Nutrition Screening, Education, and Counseling
Nutrition screening evaluates the nutritional health of consumers using the Nutrition Screening Initiative (NSI) tool on the Consumer Information Assessment. The Nutrition Screening Initiative was developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Dietetic Association, and others to promote the integration of nutrition screening and intervention into health care for older adults.
Nutrition education takes the idea of a healthy, nutritious meal and carries it through to the rest of the day. Potential topics may include: practical suggestions to extend the nutrition dollar, good food sources of specific nutrients, eating for chronic illness, and safe food preparation. Learning about nutrition is popular with active seniors in Colorado.
Nutrition Counseling is performed by a Registered Dietitian, or individual with equivalent expertise, and may be available to consumers who express an interest or to those who score at high nutrition risk on the Nutrition Screening Initiative tool. This specialized service by a nutrition expert, takes many health factors into consideration to provide individualized nutrition assessment and interventions.
Adults are living longer and enjoying life more due to the increases in lifespan and quality of life sustained by physical activity and exercise. Healthy aging programs include: Steps to Healthy Aging, fall prevention, Eat Better/Move More, and others.