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For twenty one years, as the Director of Nutrition Services for Senior Services of Snohomish County, Martha Peppones has managed the agency’s nutrition programs and guided its approach to meeting the nutritional needs of the community’s older adults. The nutrition programs that Martha manages provide more than one quarter million meals each year to seniors throughout the community, with 45% served through 12 dining locations, and the remainder delivered to the homes of older adults who are unable to prepare meals or leave home without assistance.
Martha is renowned for her expertise in nutrition and aging and for her leadership in developing and implementing strong policies and programs that address the changing needs of an increasingly diverse aging population. She has led and served on national boards and committees that address a variety of nutrition issues faced by older adults, and their caregivers. “Martha’s great leadership skills come from her credibility as a day to day service provider, her commitment to older adults and her passion for positive advocacy on national policy” says Bob Blancato, Executive Director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs. “Her leadership has and continues to benefit two important national organizations, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs, where Martha served as President. Martha is a source of valuable advice and counsel and a voice that is listened to from Washington State to Washington, DC.”
Along with other organizations throughout the country, Martha’s agency is examining what services to bring to Baby Boomers, and how to deliver those services. “Most of us are still working, still active, and we don’t see senior center services as a value for us.” She reflects that a class on “healthy aging” may not appeal, though a class on “healthy living” might. “So we are trying to approach things from the wellness standpoint and package them and take them out into the community. Some senior centers are managing to attract younger people with hiking and fitness offerings. We have to take it to where they are.”
Martha is an active speaker and writer on nutrition for older adults and has trained many dietitians through on-site internships and distance learning courses. Mary Pat Raimondi, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Policy at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says “Martha always seems to be three steps ahead of everyone with innovative program ideas. She looks at both the big picture and the details to fine tune the picture. Her easy going outlook makes it easy to be a collaborative partner in providing the best services for older adults.”
Looking to the future, Peppones’ program is well-positioned to provide services to the changing older adult population. She defines healthy aging as the ability to age where you can safely do the things you want to do while maintaining a good quality of life, with minimum limitations. She views the increasing integration and interaction between social services and health care as a promising and important means of helping to better address the increasingly complex needs and lifestyles of older Americans.
Featured: September 2012
Nutrition and physical activity practitioners in Washington