Issue Brief: Envisioning a New Future for Congregate Meals

include telephone options. Consider telephonic conference lines for conversation and connection or event group texts to expand access to programming. • Partner with local age-friendly community groups to host socially distanced meals in age-friendly outdoor spaces. • Create and offer programming that • Use social isolation screening tools to measure the impact and the efficacy of services in decreasing social isolation. • Host a “hack-a-thon” in partnership with other agencies serving older adults or other age populations to identify out-of- the-box solutions to ensure those hardest to reach can access food. CHALLENGE: ACCESS AND DELIVERY LOGISTICS The pandemic disrupted people’s ability to gather together in one place for meals and social interactions. As a result, sites are struggling to find delivery drivers, connect with older adults, and recruit volunteers as they try to bring meals to individuals. Challenges Brought to Light encourages organic community connection, such as dinner and a movie. • Dramatic increases in the number of people unknown to agencies who are in need of food and consequently require enrolling in services • Reaching rural areas and frontier areas • The need to bring services to people, instead of bringing people to services

• Supply of equipment (e.g., vehicles) and volunteers needed • Addressing multiple needs during one “visit” or delivery • Maintaining HIPAA standards and other privacy concerns, particularly among those in need of meals who may have medical issues • Reimagining and repurposing what a community center will look like • Solving “last-mile” delivery barriers • Digital divide—access to devices, connectivity • Delivery efficiency—“batching” deliveries Solution: Usable Databases, Capacity, Delivery Services and Flex Funding How do we sustain this, while building a better future? Build usable databases, people and systems capacity, suitable delivery services, and flexible funding. • Create solution-focused task forces and partnerships with government entities and public insurance providers, as well as with communication and technology

Envisioning a New Future for Congregate Meals PAGE 4 | www.asaging.org

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