Earn 1 hr CEU, pre-approved for Social Workers by BOSW; self-submit other disciplines.
MGS is an approved Continuing Education Resource by the MN Board of Nursing.
(The CEU is free for MGS members; $15 for non-members.)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, meal programs including home-delivered meals and food shelf usage, proved a lifeline for older adults. These programs saw a dramatic increase in demand. In many cases, the services reached low-income individuals who had not used these services before.
In Minnesota, to support the increased need, an influx of emergency and stimulus federal funds increased spending on senior nutrition. This funding made it possible to serve older adults who are above strict eligibility limits for meals under Medicaid or the Elderly Waiver/Alternative Care programs. In addition to being primarily low-income, these adults have limitations in their ability to shop for groceries and make meals. Much of the expansion in meals has been for older adults with life-threatening chronic conditions and for immigrant communities. The pandemic revealed significant unmet needs, which have not receded as both the pandemic and stimulus funds recede.
This presentation will feature a discussion on this coming tipping point in the growing challenge of providing senior nutrition support in MN. Community panelists will review the current state in Jan 2023; discuss specific examples of pinch points and opportunities for investment and outline initial action steps to address and impact the current state.
- Overview of how COVID-19 has highlighted food insecurity among older adults
- Overview of funding priorities, usage, and outcomes 2020-2022 in tandem with ongoing and concurrent nutrition support programs in MN
- How hunger impacts older adults and what local organizations are doing in responding to the need
- Share preliminary research/recommendations focused on rural food insecurity with a U of MN researcher
- Use the information from recent research, data, and COVID-19 learnings to address senior hunger in 2023
Jason Swanson, Executive Director, MN River Area Agency on Aging
Jason W. Swanson is the Executive Director of the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) and current President of the Minnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging (m4a). Swanson previously worked in the long-term care profession, serving in an administrative role in assisted living, independent living, memory care and skilled nursing facilities. He currently serves as a Board member for the Chesley Center on Aging, committee member for the Minnesota Gerontological Society (MGS) Conference Committee, and committee member for the Minnesota Social Services Association (MSSA) Public Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Patrick Brady, PhD, Epidemiology and Community Health, University of MN
Dr. Patrick Brady is a postdoctoral fellow in the Minnesota Obesity Prevention Training (MnOPT) program in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. He is a mixed methods researcher interested in studying how to enhance food and nutrition security through food systems and policy. He aims to improve the dietary intake and health of underserved populations, with a focus on older adults and rural communities. He is currently working on projects examining use of food shelves and food assistance programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and is hoping to expand this work by collaboratively developing interventions in the emergency food system using community engaged research methods.
Study title: Access to Emergency Food for Rural Older Adults: Using Rapid Qualitative Methods to Explore Stakeholder Perspectives
Jill Westfall, Program Director, Hunger Solutions
As Director of Programs, Jill Westfall works to make sure Hunger Solutions’ programs are as effective as possible in meeting the needs of Minnesotans who struggle with hunger. She manages the organization’s SNAP outreach work, which includes the Minnesota Food HelpLine, SNAP Rx, and the Market Bucks programs. Her career has focused on working to improve our public systems and policies so they help individuals and families live to their fullest potential.