Health eVillages and NCOA Partner to Increase Food Security Among Older Americans

MARLBOROUGH, MA (August 8, 2019) — Health eVillages, a non-profit organization that has provided free, state-of-the-art medical mobile technology to underserved areas around the world since 2011, has partnered with the National Council on Aging (NCOA), a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well, to increase the number of older Americans who are screened and enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a federal program that provides financial assistance and nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of low-income Americans, so they can access healthy food.

Nutrition is essential for physical, cognitive, and mental health of older adults. A poor diet can cause seniors to suffer the physical impairments of someone 14 years older and increase mortality up to 30%. According to the USDA, only 42% of eligible seniors enroll in SNAP, compared to 83% of the entire eligible population. NCOA estimates that more than 5 million older adults are eligible but unenrolled in the program.

This year-long partnership is part of a national Health eVillages initiative, in collaboration with Tivity Health, the Tramuto Foundation, and other partners, to improve the quality of health and life of older Americans living in rural America. (For more information on this initiative, see www.ruralage.com.) It is also part of NCOA’s goal to improve the health and economic security of 40 million older adults by 2030.

Health eVillages, together with NCOA, will help reduce food insecurity by enabling local volunteers in nine states to conduct home visits and outreach events using mobile tablets for SNAP eligibility assessments and applications. Two hundred and twenty-five Android tablets have been donated by Health eVillages to NCOA and distributed to local partners in the following areas: Southern Alabama; Suburban Chicago; Ft. Pierce, FL; Hoboken, NJ; Lansing, MI; Miami, FL; New Bedford, MA; North Dakota; Seattle, WA; and Utah.

After training by Health eVillages and NCOA, 225 local peer volunteers will meet older adults in their own rural and urban communities. Many of these older residents have difficulty accessing benefits due to geographical, technological, social, or cultural barriers. Volunteers will screen thousands of older adults for eligibility in SNAP and assist each person with enrollment in the program, as appropriate. To conduct the screenings, volunteers will use NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® (www.BenefitsCheckUp.org), the nation’s most comprehensive, free online tool to help older adults find and apply for benefits program to help them pay for daily expenses. Together, Health eVillages and NCOA will help address senior hunger for those at risk of hunger and those already experiencing malnutrition.

Health eVillages founder Donato Tramuto said, “It’s truly tragic that in the 21st century in the richest country in the world, more than 10 million older Americans face the threat of hunger each and every day. This important collaboration between Health eVillages and NCOA will help low-income seniors who struggle daily and are often forced to decide whether to use their limited income to purchase medication, to pay utility bills, or buy nutritious food.” He added, “Health eVillages is proud to partner with NCOA, which has a long history of nationwide outreach and assistance to seniors to empower them to age well.”

“For almost 70 years, NCOA has worked for a just and caring society where all of us can age with dignity,” said NCOA President and CEO James Firman. “We are grateful that Health eVillages shares this mission. Our innovative partnership will leverage the power of technology to improve older adults’ health and economic security.”

About Health eVillages:

Health eVillages collaborates to advance healthcare access and improve the quality of care by providing state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision support tools, as well as other community-focused resources, to medical and public health professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. Our partners include Tivity Health®, Sharecare, the Tramuto Foundation, Skyscape, Global Impact, the Maternity Foundation, Medical Aid Films, and more. You can find more information at http://www.healthevillages.org and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

About NCOA:

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) is a trusted national leader working to ensure that every person can age well. Since 1950, our mission has not changed: Improve the lives of millions of older adults, especially those who are struggling. NCOA empowers people with the best solutions to improve their own health and economic security—and we strengthen government programs that we all depend on as we age. Every year, millions of people use our signature programs BenefitsCheckUp®, My Medicare Matters®, and the Aging Mastery Program® to age well. By offering online tools and collaborating with a nationwide network of partners, NCOA is working to improve the lives of 40 million older adults by 2030. Learn more at www.ncoa.org and @NCOAging.

 

Contact: Kimberly Janicak                                                                 Contact: Armando Trull

(615) 557-5965                                                                                   (202) 709-2474

Kimberly.Janicak@HealtheVillages.org                                            armando.trull@ncoa.org

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