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Senior Nutrition Program delivers

At the glorious age of 100, Libby is fiercely independent. She manages her finances, schedules appointments, and has an active social life, affectionately dubbed by neighbors as the mayor of the block she lives on. There is just one thing holding her back from being completely independent.

She no longer drives.

Her children and family had been helping her shop for food, which is listed as an instrumental activity of daily living (IADL).  Both of Libby’s daughters had been shopping for and making meals for their mother for years. But when one daughter passed away, Libby’s son called the District for assistance with meals.  April Colbert, the District’s Senior Nutrition Program coordinator, says having a family member call the District for assistance for a loved one is not unusual. 

“A lot of times, family members, neighbors or friends call on behalf of someone they know, to see what kind of assistance is available.”

Libby is grateful for the Senior Nutrition Program. She is among 230 active clients receiving supplemental meals each week, which can include up to five ready-to-heat meals of beef, chicken, fish, turkey or other specialty dishes that provide a diverse and balanced low-sodium diet, as well as, whole wheat bread, shelf-stable milk, fruit and yogurt.  On average, about 4,505 meals per month are delivered, and more than 600,000 meals have been distributed since the program’s inception in 2005. Libby is one of four centenarians who receive the meals.

In Camarillo, the Senior Nutrition Program is a grant partnership with the Ventura County Area Agency on Aging (VCAAA), and the City of Camarillo.  As a federally-funded program through the Older Americans Act, it serves District residents who are age 60 and older and homebound, or individuals 18-59 who are homebound due to illness, disability or isolation, such as, needing short-term assistance during or after medical recovery. 

As a requirement of the program, quarterly assessments are conducted, alternating between a home visit and a telephone check-in.  It’s been said that food is only one part of a balanced diet!  These assessments check for overall safety and welfare of clients and provide referrals to additional resources or services that may become necessary, such as home care services, medical supplies, services that can assist in independent living, and many other resources the District can assist with.

District staff pack and deliver meals on a Monday, Wednesday or Friday each week and can accommodate some special dietary needs or requests (the food is selected by VCAAA nutritional services).  Delivery days are the highlights of week for our staff, as they have an opportunity to meet the clients and get to know them better.

“We enjoy getting to know our clients and building a relationship,” April says. “It helps us be able to know if something seems off or they are unwell, and we’re able to call for help, either medical response or family contacts.”  

Libby, whose husband of 58 years passed away, says she enjoys the company and an extra set of eyes watching out for her. “I am always wearing a big smile when they come to my door,” she says. “They are all so wonderful, sweet and kind.”

For more information about the Senior Nutrition Program, contact April at 805-388-1952, ext. 168.

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