As outlined on the following page, the congregate meal program provides older adults with a nutritional meal, social interaction as well as volunteer opportunities. However, the participation in the congregate meal program has declined over the past 25 years. In FY 1988, the congregate meal program provided meals to more than 107,248 older adults. In FY 2012, the congregate meal program will provide meals to an estimated 73,303 older adults, which is a decline of 32 percent since FY 1988.
This decline in the number of older adults participating in the congregate meal program is also occurring throughout the nation. It is primarily due to younger older adults not participating in the congregate meal program for various reasons (e.g., lack of interest in group meal programs targeted for the elderly and more nutritional and service options in their communities). The Department on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and nutrition service providers can examine the New York City Department on Aging evaluation format to examine critical factors in the successful utilization of congregate meal programs.
In contrast, the home delivered meal program has increased participation levels significantly during the past 25 years. In FY 1988, the home delivered meal program provided meals to more than 25,447 older adults. In FY 2012, the home delivered meal service will provide meals to an estimated 37,370 older adults, which is an increase of 47 percent since 1988.
There are still areas in Illinois that are not served by home delivered meal programs due to a lack of funding. Many of the current clients need more than 1 meal per day and weekend meals. The Elderly Nutrition Program cannot address most of these needs without additional funding. Additionally, the need for home delivered meals will continue to grow as the number of older adults increases, particularly the group aged 85 and over, which is the fastest growing segment of the older population. The following information outlines the growth of the age 85+ population in Illinois since 1970:
AGE 85 + POPULATION IN ILLINOIS
1970 Census 1980 Census 1990 Census 2000 Census 2010 Census % Increase Between 1970 & 2010 % Increase Between 2000 & 2010
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