You may know Meals on Wheels as the program that provides home-delivered meals to seniors who live at home. You may have known someone who received meals, or you may have even volunteered to deliver.
Whether or not you’ve heard of the program, Meals on Wheels is changing lives for nearly 2.4 million seniors in almost every community in the country.
Here’s how Meals on Wheels helps our senior neighbors to extend their independence and health as they age.
I am receiving foods now that I would have had to pass by in the past because I couldn’t afford them. I feel truly blessed.” – Connie, Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio client.
Meals on Wheels Addresses Senior Hunger
More than 25 million seniors in the United States have trouble making ends meet and live at or below 250% of the national poverty level. This is equivalent to $29,425 for a single person.
Living on a low income can make it difficult for seniors to get the proper amount of nutrition to stay healthy and independent at home. Now more than ever, there is a need for senior services that bridge the gap between poverty and nutrition.
The aging population is growing fast. Today, there are more than 46 million adults age 65 or older living in the United States. By 2050, just thirty years from now, that number is expected to grow to almost 90 million.
Nutrition is a Key Element to Independence
Nutrition is one of the most important factors in successfully aging in place, a goal that most Americans have as they grow older. The ability to pay for food regularly, find affordable transportation to grocery stores, and prepare meals can all be an issue when it comes to eating well.
People with inadequate nutrition can face low energy, weakened immune systems, and other health complications that make it impossible to live at home. Without the ability to get a sufficient amount of healthy foods, seniors often must move out of their communities and into institutions, sometimes prematurely or inappropriately had they received support.
With more than a million seniors who live at home in the United States that can’t count on getting enough food to eat every day, it’s up to community-based and national resources to find solutions.
Meal Delivery Supports Aging at Home
Barriers to nutritious foods can result in seniors becoming malnourished or resorting to unhealthy food choices. Programs like Meals on Wheels, however, help older adults access healthy, affordable meals without needing to leave their homes.
Meals on Wheels keeps seniors safe and living independently across the nation by providing nutritious, home-delivered meals to those in need. By getting healthy meals delivered to their doorsteps, seniors can age with dignity and without fear of hunger.
Meals on Wheels recipients like Connie in Northeast Ohio experience the positive impacts of receiving nutritious meals on a daily basis. She is able to remain at home – where she wants to be – and eat foods that keep her healthy, strong, and confident.
“For so long as a low-income person, I have had to eat ‘cheap’ food – food that is loaded with unhealthy preservatives. Doctors stress ‘eat healthily’, but that has rarely been possible for me,” said Connie.
Meals on Wheels team members deliver fresh meals to Connie every day, Monday through Friday. They act as a watchful eye, providing wellness checks and noticing any changes that may raise concern. They also provide socialization, a powerful tool to fight against loneliness and isolation that can affect seniors living at home.
“I have no words to say how thankful I am to receive the Meals on Wheels,” Connie wrote in a letter to the program. “Everything tastes fresh and I feel I am eating balanced meals. I am receiving foods now that I would have had to pass by in the past because I couldn’t afford them. Thank you so much for accepting me into this program. I feel truly blessed.”
Supporting Home-delivered Meals for Seniors in Need
Connie can receive meals because of funders, corporate partners, and donors who support the Meals on Wheels program. Through the generosity of businesses, organizations, and individuals, Connie and so many others can age at home without needing to worry about being hungry.
As our senior population grows, so does the need for support of the Meals on Wheels program. A donation of $35 can provide a senior in your neighborhood with an entire week’s worth of meals.
Every day, seniors are fighting to remain uniquely independent and active members of our community. They are the watchful eyes over our homes while we work and our children while they play. They are the voices of generational wisdom and rich stories that add value to our neighborhoods.
Our aging population has lived through many moments of success and overcame a multitude of obstacles – facing senior hunger should just not be one of them.
Can you support your local Meals on Wheels program? Contact Meals on Wheels of Northeast Ohio today at 330-253-4597 or firstname.lastname@example.org to donate or volunteer in Stark, Summit, or Wayne County. (Volunteering available in Stark and Wayne Counties only. Ask about corporate volunteering.)