Malnutrition is defined as too little or too much energy, protein, and nutrients that can negatively impact a person's body and its function. It can result from undernutrition or over-nutrition and can affect anyone, but seniors over 65 years are at an increased risk. As we age, our daily eating habits and activities change, which can affect our nutrition status. The body does not digest and metabolize food as efficiently as it used to. Visit our Malnutrition page for more information.
Home-Delivered Meals and Group Site (Congregate) Meals
With the aging of the U.S. population, increased attention is being given to delivering health and related services to older persons in the community. Since adequate nutrition is critical to health, functioning, and quality of life, it is an important component of home and community-based services for older adults.
How It Works
The Elderly Nutrition Program provides meals served in group settings and delivered to people’s homes. Meals and other nutrition services are provided in a variety of settings, such as senior centers and churches.
Group site meals: Meals are served weekdays in over 393 sites throughout the state including senior centers, churches, senior housing facilities and community buildings.
Home-delivered meals: When older adults cannot leave their homes and cannot personally prepare nutritious meals, home delivered meals are an available option. Volunteers who deliver meals to homebound older persons have an important opportunity to check on the welfare of the homebound elderly and are encouraged to report any health or other problems that they may observe during their visits.
Meals served under the Nutrition Program must provide at least one-third of the daily recommended dietary allowances established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council.
The Nutrition Program also provides a range of related services including nutrition screening, assessment (Spanish version), education and counseling.
Older adults who participate in either the group site (congregate) meal or home delivered meal programs are offered the opportunity to make voluntary contributions toward the cost of the program.
Typically, federal and state funded meal programs allow for home-delivered meals on weekdays only. Illinois participates in a public/private partnership program known as MEALS-ON-WHEELS ILLINOIS. The program is designed to raise funds for holiday, weekend and emergency meals, helping fill the “gaps” left by federal and state funded home-delivered meal programs.
Senior Nutrition Program Provider Trainings
Malnutrition - How Home and Community Based Programs Can Make an Impact
Malnutrition Training Handouts and Related Documents
Additional Nutrition Resources and Information
Eat. Move. Save.
Use the Find Food IL community food map to find food resources in your community.
The Eat. Move. Save. website also has lots of great tips to help you make healthier choices on any budget.
Nutrition and Wellness Newsletter
March/April - Celebrate our Senior Nutrition Programs!
January/February - February is Heart Health Month!
Become a volunteer to prepare or deliver meals to seniors. Contact your local Senior Center for information on volunteer opportunities.
To locate a Nutrition Program near you,
find a program in your area, or
contact your local Area Agency on Aging; or
the Illinois Department on Aging Senior Helpline at 1-800-252-8966.