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Are Meal Delivery Services the Key to Senior Health?

By Dana LarsenApril 26, 2016
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Food delivery services such as Meals on Wheels and Silver Cuisine offer many benefits, including nutritious meals for seniors that can be catered to meet their specific dietary and nutrition needs, as well as helping them stay in their family homes.

It’s not surprising that many seniors would prefer the comforts of home to the stresses of moving to a care facility. In fact, an AARP study reports that nearly three-quarters of adults would like to stay in their current residence for as long as possible. But, aging presents a set of challenges that may make it difficult for older adults to care for themselves.

Meal Delivery Services and Senior Health

There’s hope, though, for those seniors who want to remain independent. Research from Brown University suggests that home-delivered meal services like Meals on Wheels and Silver Cuisine may help keep seniors with minimal care needs out of nursing homes. Jessica Barry, with BistroMD, discusses their Silver Cuisine meal program for seniors:

“At Silver Cuisine, we believe that food is medicine, and our passion is creating delicious meals that enhance the quality of our members’ lives. We stand for longer and healthier living through how we eat and how we live, and our home delivered meals are lovingly created with the nutritional needs of people 50+ and seniors in mind.”

Food services allow seniors who can’t regularly cook for themselves — or caregivers who need a break — a healthy meal option that’s not only easy, but also nutritious. Many Americans are turning to these helpful programs to help elderly loved ones stay happy, healthy and nourished. Nevertheless, it’s important for caregivers to consider each person’s individual needs to determine whether staying at home is the right choice.

Meal Delivery: The Key to Senior Nutrition

One in seven seniors is threatened by hunger, reports the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger. Just as troubling is the fact that there are an estimated 3.7 million malnourished seniors in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. But there’s encouraging data, too:

In a U.S. Administration on Aging survey, 85% reported that Meals on Wheels helps them eat healthier.

Meal delivery services provide meals not only for seniors with mobility issues living at home, but also, in many cases, they bring meals to community locations like senior centers, enabling proper senior nutrition for hundreds of thousands of people who might not be able to nourish themselves properly on their own.

Not only is meal delivery a boon to senior nutrition, it is also associated with lower nursing care enrollment for those seniors with minimal nursing care needs. According to the Brown University study, higher state spending on home-delivered meals is directly associated with a reduction in the number of low-care nursing home residents.

“States that have invested in their community-based service networks, particularly home-delivered meals, have proportionally fewer of these people than do those states that have not,” reported gerontology researchers Kali Thomas and Vincent Mor in the study’s press release. Those seniors may have the option of  more independent living, including remaining at home.

Barry discusses benefits Silver Cuisine provides customers:

“Silver Cuisine is an approved Member Advantages offering for AARP, offering freedom and peace of mind to caregivers by providing healthy and delicious meals and providing seniors with a simple solution to receive high quality nutritional entrees. Access to convenient, nutritious meals is a key offering that caregivers and seniors are requesting to extend life at home and aid in overall health. Our meal delivery service benefits any lifestyle, with no contracts or minimum orders. People can order what they like, when they like to promote a healthier lifestyle, easily. In fact, all food can be prepared in the microwave in less than six minutes, with no cooking involved. For those who prefer oven cooking, meals can be heated there, as well. We also offer discounts for every order for AARP members.”

Balancing Meal Delivery and Independence with Senior Needs

Even though meal delivery provides more flexibility for seniors who want to remain with family in their own homes, older adults also need social activity for overall wellness.

It is important to assess your elderly loved ones’ needs to determine whether meal delivery services are what they need, balanced with an at-home wellness plan of exercise and regular socialization; or whether assisted living or other senior communities may be a better fit.

Ultimately, a healthy balance of exercise, good nutrition and socialization is important for your aging loved one. Caregivers need to evaluate each individual’s situation in order to determine whether the best option is assisted living, home care and meal delivery, or some other form of care.

Silver Cuisine has created a 15% off + free shipping coupon for A Place for Mom readers who spend $75.00 or more. Use Code: “APFM” at checkout.

Have you or someone you love participated in a meal delivery service or program? Please share your stories with us about your experience in the comments below.

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Dana Larsen