HERO (Healthy Eating for At Risk Older Adults), is a comprehensive approach to addressing hunger faced by older adults, particularly those with low-incomes, who are living with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancer and other disabling illnesses.
Our project was developed to help formerly homeless older adults who are especially susceptible to hunger and malnutrition. Data collected by ELAHP during a 3-year research program sponsored by the U.S. Administration on Aging indicated that 86% of clients served were not getting recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, one-third reported worrying that they would run out of food before their next social security check, and 15% had lost weight because they couldn't afford to eat.
How HERO Works
With the help of experts in the field, ELAHP developed an innovative new web-based tool to evaluate the current eating habits of older adults and to assess their optimal nutritional needs in relation to their unique health conditions and goals. Until now, this kind of assessment could not be done in a client's home. HERO is a first-of-its-kind program to take intensive nutritional services out of the clinic and bring them directly to the patient.
Now that we can eliminate barriers to older adults receiving this care, we anticipate that the result will be greater nutritional understanding and improved health outcomes for older adults. Under the HERO program, ELAHP will offer vulnerable older adults the following services:
- Provide (free of charge) fresh, nutritious foods that are difficult to purchase due to expense
- Home delivery of needed foods to individuals who do not have the mobility to go out and shop for themselves
- Offer nutrition education to insure that older adults understand the importance of diet in managing their health
As with all ELAHP services, there is no cost to the client.