Skip Navigation
Link to HHS Website Department of Health & Human Services
 
Link to Administration on Aging HomePage
  Home > Program Results
Home
About AoA
Press Room
Elders & Families
Emergency Preparedness
Aging Statistics
AoA Programs
Program Results
Grant Opportunities
AoA Funded Resource Centers
              

Nutrition

Evaluations Report

IV. TITLE III PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AND SERVICE DELIVERY

H .WAITING LISTS

The number of older Americans, particularly the functionally impaired, has been steadily increasing during a time in which funding for OAA programs has generally been flat. There is anecdotal evidence about ENP waiting lists for elderly persons in various parts of the country, suggesting a relatively large degree of unmet need for elderly nutrition assistance, especially by those who are severely impaired or homebound (Wall Street Journal 1994). The evaluation data indicate considerable unmet need for home-delivered ENP meals.

A substantial percentage (41 percent) of nutrition projects that arrange or provide home-delivered meals reported that they currently have a waiting list for potential participants in the home-delivered meal program (Table IV.50). For projects maintaining waiting lists, the mean number of elders on a waiting list is 85. It is important to note, however, that the mean is heavily influenced by a few large projects with long waiting lists. Yet, even the median is 35 persons, which is about 30 percent of the projects’ average daily number of home-delivered meal recipients served. Nutrition project respondents who maintain waiting lists reported that the mean length of time on the waiting list is between two and three months. (Again, the median is lower, equal to one month.)

Waiting lists are much less common for congregate meal programs. Nine percent of the nutrition projects arranging or providing congregate meals reported a current waiting list (Table IV.50). For projects maintaining waiting lists, the mean number on a waiting list equals 52 persons. The median number of elders on a congregate waiting list is 47, which is about 20 percent of the projects’ average daily number of congregate meal participants served. Nutrition projects that maintain waiting lists reported that the mean length of time on the waiting list is two months. The median is lower (one month).

TABLE IV.50

WAITING LISTS FOR PARTICIPATION IN TITLE III PROGRAMS REPORTED BY NUTRITION PROJECTS

(Percentages, Unless Stated Otherwise)


Congregate Meal Service

Home-Delivered Meal Service

Other Services

Maintains Waiting List

9

41

22

If Maintain Waiting List, Number on Waiting List




Mean

52

85

---

Median

47

35

---

If Maintain Waiting List, Number on Waiting List as a Percentage of Average Daily Meals Serveda




Less than 5 percent

5

13

---

6 to 10 percent

24

12

---

11 to 20 percent

9

13

---

21 to 40 percent

30

33

---

41 to 100 percent

9

23

---

More than 100 percent

22

5

---

If Maintain Waiting List, Mean Length of Time on Waiting List (Months)

2.1

2.6

2.2

If Maintain Waiting List, Median Length of Time on Waiting List (Months)

1.0

1.0

1.7

Unweighted Sample Size

230

207

198

Source: Elderly Nutrition Program Evaluation, Nutrition Project survey, weighted tabulations.

a Number on waiting list as a percentage of average daily meals served, for both congregate and home-delivered meals, is constructed by dividing the reported number of individuals on the waiting list by the reported number of meals served in a year and multiplying by 260 (= 52 × 5). This breakdown cannot be constructed for other services because there is no measure of number of participants or intensity of services.

One-fifth of Title III nutrition projects reported that they currently have a waiting list for potential participants for other (nonmeal) nutrition or supportive services (Table IV.50). For projects maintaining waiting lists for other services, the mean length of time on a waiting list is somewhat greater than two months.

The prevalence of waiting lists for meals and other services was examined according to various characteristics of nutrition projects, such as by urbanicity of the projects’ service area and projects’ size and organizational status. These findings are summarized in Table IV.51. Waiting lists for home-delivered meal services were more prevalent in projects that were urban, large, or private nonprofit than in those that were rural, small, or public. For example, one-half of urban projects reported currently having a waiting list for home-delivered meal services, compared with one-third of rural projects. Fifty-three percent of large home-delivered projects (serving 1,000 or more home-delivered meals per week) maintained waiting lists, compared with 38 percent of small projects. Although the differences were not as striking, similar relationships were observed for projects providing congregate and supportive services. Exceptions were that rural projects were somewhat more likely to maintain waiting lists for congregate services than urban projects (14 percent versus 5 percent), and public ones were somewhat more likely to currently have waiting lists for nonmeal services than private nonprofit nutrition projects (25 percent versus 21 percent).

TABLE IV.50

WAITING LISTS FOR PARTICIPATION IN TITLE III PROGRAMS REPORTED BY NUTRITION PROJECTS

(Percentages, Unless Stated Otherwise)


Congregate Meal Service

Home-Delivered Meal Service

Other Services

Maintains Waiting List

9

41

22

If Maintain Waiting List, Number on Waiting List




Mean

52

85

---

Median

47

35

---

If Maintain Waiting List, Number on Waiting List as a Percentage of Average Daily Meals Serveda




Less than 5 percent

5

13

---

6 to 10 percent

24

12

---

11 to 20 percent

9

13

---

21 to 40 percent

30

33

---

41 to 100 percent

9

23

---

More than 100 percent

22

5

---

If Maintain Waiting List, Mean Length of Time on Waiting List (Months)

2.1

2.6

2.2

If Maintain Waiting List, Median Length of Time on Waiting List (Months)

1.0

1.0

1.7

Unweighted Sample Size

230

207

198

Source: Elderly Nutrition Program Evaluation, Nutrition Project survey, weighted tabulations.

a Number on waiting list as a percentage of average daily meals served, for both congregate and home-delivered meals, is constructed by dividing the reported number of individuals on the waiting list by the reported number of meals served in a year and multiplying by 260 (= 52 × 5). This breakdown cannot be constructed for other services because there is no measure of number of participants or intensity of services.

Overall, these data, together with the earlier information on trends in ENP meals served (see Chapter I), suggest considerable unmet need for home-delivered meals. Furthermore, the findings summarized here probably understate the degree of unmet need for home-delivered meals (as well as supportive services and congregate meals), since it is possible that many nutrition programs with unmet need for services do not maintain waiting lists.