Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020 Signed into Law

03/26/2020 - The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, applauds Congress and the President for passing and signing into law the Supporting Older Americans Act of 2020.

"This legislation continues the bipartisan tradition of supporting America’s seniors through nutrition programs, caregiver support and elder justice,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Terri J. Raymond.

The Academy is particularly grateful for the work of Representatives Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.), Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Susie Lee (Nev.), James Comer (Ky.), Susan Wild (Pa.), Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Bobby Scott (Va.), and Virginia Foxx (N.C.), and Senators Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Casey (Pa.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Patty Murray (Wash.) for championing this strong reauthorization.

The Supporting Older Americans Act authorizes a wide range of vital programs including congregate and home-delivered meals programs that provide healthy meals, social support, and other critical services to older adults.

The Academy worked closely with the House Education and Labor, the Senate Aging Committee while bill language was being drafted and negotiated. These direct lines of communication with Congress helped ensure that the final bill included the following nutrition-related highlights:

  • Malnutrition reduction is now and official purpose for OAA nutrition programs
  • Malnutrition will become a routine part of program participant screening
  • Sites will be encouraged to serve culturally appropriate and medically tailored meals
  • The congregate and home-delivered meals programs are authorized to receive increased funding every year

"The Supporting Older Americans Act will increase seniors’ access to culturally appropriate, medically tailored meals. Additionally, the prioritization of malnutrition screening and reduction as part of nutrition programs is an important step towards addressing this prevalent and costly condition,” Raymond said.

The Academy looks forward to working with the Administration for Community Living to implement the new malnutrition and medically tailored meals components of this legislation and sustain these programs’ positive impact on seniors.