Office for the Aging


Home delivered Meal Program in NYS

March is National Nutrition Month. In Part 2 of our 4 part series, we will focus on New York's home delivered meals program.

Through 59 local offices for the aging, including New York City and two Indian Tribal Organizations, the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) operates the federal Nutrition Program for the Elderly (NPE). The purpose of this program is:

  • to reduce hunger and food insecurity;
  • to promote socialization of older individuals; and
  • to promote the health and well-being of older individuals by assisting such individuals to gain access to nutrition and other disease prevention and health promotion services to delay the onset of adverse health conditions resulting from poor nutritional health or sedentary behavior.

New York State also provides funding to the Office for the Aging through the state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that primarily supports home delivered meals.

Nutrition services are designed to prevent or reduce the effect of chronic disease associated with diet and weight; strengthen the link between nutrition and physical activity in health promotion for a healthy lifestyle; improve accessibility of nutrition information, nutrition education, nutrition counseling and related services, and healthy foods. Each local office for the aging provides congregate (community) and home delivered meals, health promotion and disease prevention services, nutrition screening, nutrition education, nutrition assessments and counseling. These services are a proven, cost effective means of helping older New Yorkers maintain their health and independence, engage in community life, and stay in their own homes and communities as long as possible.

Home-Delivered Meals: NYS Among the Best in the Country

In 2011-12 the NYSOFA home delivered meal program provided 12.4 Million meals to about 53,500 older New Yorkers on 2,000 delivery routes statewide. The home delivered meals program ranks first in the nation for the number of people served and second in the nation for number of meals served to those individuals. Over 70% of participants receiving home delivered meals are seventy-five years old or over. Almost half of the participants live alone, are female and are at nutrition risk. Fifty-six percent of participants are disabled or frail and almost one-quarter of home delivered meal participants are sufficiently frail that they would qualify for nursing home placement.

Sometimes an older adult may need meals for a short time because they've just gotten out of a hospital and are unable to shop or prepare a meal while they are recovering. Others may need meals for a longer period of time because they may not be able to prepare meals for themselves anymore due to functional limitations. For older New Yorkers who can't prepare meals for themselves, home delivered meals bring healthy, nutritious, balanced meals to their residences up to five days a week. This service also is critical in providing participants with regular contact, becoming the eyes and ears to isolated and home bound individuals. The program also can link the older participant to a wide array of other programs and services that help them maintain their independence and avoid placements in residential facilities. Menus are planned and certified by Registered Dietitians to meet national dietary requirements and the needs and preferences of participants, including ethnic and kosher meals, as much as possible. Up-to-date information about healthy eating, wellness and healthy habits is provided to those who receive meals. Registered Dietitians also help participants by advising and helping to answer questions about diabetes, weight loss or gain and healthy eating through the provision of one-on-one nutrition counseling.

Eligibility for Home Delivered Meals

An individual is eligible for home delivered meals if they are:

  1. 60 years old or older, and
  2. Have completed an interview that shows they are unable to prepare meals for themselves and don't have help from friends or family.

Others may be eligible for home delivered meals if:

  1. The individual is married, that person's spouse may also receive meals even if they are not 60 years old.
  2. There is an individual living with you who is under the age of 60 and has a disability, they may also receive meals.

Providing meals to a spouse or person with a disability living with an individual is done on a case-by-case basis.

Individual Cost for Home Delivered Meals

There is no charge for the home delivered meal program, nutrition information or counseling but each person is provided an opportunity to make a suggested voluntary contribution. All contributions are used to help serve more people in your community.

For more information:

  1. In person: call or visit your local office for the aging. County Based Offices for the Aging and New York City
  2. Check our Information regarding Home Delivered Meals .

For Additional Help Contact:

  • Call Senior Citizens Helpline at 1-800-342-9871
  • NY Connects(External Link) Choices for Long Term Care