Meals On Wheels is a nationally recognized initiative made possible by the Older Americans Act (OAA). The OAA made way for grants to states to help establish nutrition services for seniors throughout the country. Meals On Wheels is highly focused on combating three core issues many seniors in the United States struggle with every day; hunger, isolation, and delaying adverse health conditions. Meals On Wheels is deeply committed to addressing these rapidly growing issues and promoting the health and well-being of at-risk seniors in our communities.
How Does The Meals On Wheels Program Work?
The Meals On Wheels service keeps older adults in the community by providing healthy, rich meals to seniors at risk of losing independence. To achieve this goal, Meals On Wheels employees and volunteers deliver healthy-promoting meals to homebound older adults and, in some areas, serve meals in group environments such as senior centers and faith-based settings.
However, Meals On Wheels is most commonly known for its home-delivered meals. In addition to delivering hot-fresh dishes, the deliverers will provide an informal “safety check” and spend time with the older adult decreasing feelings of isolation. Informal safety has proved to be especially valuable as volunteers can report back on any glaring health concerns or troubling issues that should be promptly addressed.
Who Is Eligible for Meals On Wheels?
Meals On Wheels are in nearly every community in the country, with about 5,000 independently-run local programs. Although each receives funding through the OAA, they could also accept funding from other sources, and eligibility can vary. However, those looking to receive Meals On Wheels should fall under the following needs:
- age 60 years or older
- social need
- limited income or a member or a low-income minority group
- reside in a rural area
- at risk of institutionalization, homebound, diminished mobility
Meals On Wheels encourages aging adults who are mobile enough to join their peers in senior centers for healthy food, to enjoy socialization. While those with diminished mobility, unable to prepare food for themselves, may qualify for in-home delivery service.
How Much Do Meals On Wheels Meals Cost?
Although each program is different in varying communities, most Meals On Wheels will provide meals along a sliding fee scale, depending on individual circumstances. Meals On Wheels dishes range from no cost to full price, which varies depending on the needs and resources of the community. However, no senior will be denied a meal due to the inability to pay, but it’s not uncommon that donations are requested toward the cost of a meal.
How To Sign a Loved One Up for Meals On Wheels
Signing up for Meals On Wheels is typically simple. Start by locating your nearest Meals On Wheels provider and give them a call. Many community Meals On Wheels programs will ask that an application be filled out to ensure that their services are needed. Additionally, many programs will ask for a physician or social worker referral when further information is needed.
Overall, Meals On Wheels is a valuable, trusted resource for seniors in our communities. Meals On Wheels is a nationally recognized program federally funded by the Older Americans Act and state and local funding. More than a nutritious meal, Meals On Meals delivers tender support to our senior neighbors in hopes that they will maintain independence and health.