Spotlight on Innovations and Achievements: Ventura County Area Agency on Aging
We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies used by the 2018 recipients of n4a's Aging Innovations and Achievement Awards in this weekly spotlight feature. This week we're focusing on the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging's Brenda's Casamia Restaurant and Catering program in Ventura, California, a winner in the Nutrition category.
The Ventura County Area Agency on Aging developed a partnership with Brenda's Casamia Restaurant and Catering to help better identify and serve isolated older adults in the rural, low-income largely Hispanic community called Piru. The restaurant offered cultural ties and culturally appropriate food to older adults eligible for the home-delivered meals service funded through the Older Americans Act's Senior Nutrition Program.
The team at the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging launched the program in 2017 after conducting research that showed that 40 percent of older adults in the Piru community reported that they didn't have enough money to buy food. The same percentage of seniors in the community exhibited symptoms of high nutritional risk. The community did not have a grocery store and had limited transportation options. For AAAs seeking to replicate the program, the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging team encourages AAAs to consider other vendors like Brenda's that serve culturally appropriate and nutritious food.
Meal services have increased by an additional 28 percent since the original reporting. The older adults participating in the program have also reported reduced feelings of isolation and loneliness and have felt more connected since the program started. The VCAAA's partnership with Brenda's Casamia also received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties in 2018.
To learn more about Brenda's Casamia Restaurant and Catering program, contact Victoria Jump, Executive Director of the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about last year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners to learn how your agency can implement this or similar programs in your community!