Combatting Senior Hunger: Meals On Wheels

1936 words - 8 pages

Relationship Of Nutrition And Health
In recent years, there has been research involving the causes and consequences of poor nutrition among the elderly. Researchers continually work to distinguish risk factors of inadequate nutrition; the factors of most concern are “poor appetite, functional limitations, limited income, and social isolation” (Lirette, Podovennikoff, Wismer, Tondu, Klatt, 2007). Individuals at highest risk are those who live at home with a lack of family support (Krondl, Coleman, Lau, 2008). The diets of many elderly people are often low in calories and lacking important nutrients. All of these factors can affect the health and quality of life in the older adult. Nutrition plays a significant role in the health of the older adult. It is estimated that 85% of elderly persons living outside of a care center have a chronic condition that could improve with proper nutrition (Posner, Jette, Smith, Miller, 1993). Research has also noted that up to half of these individuals have diagnoses that necessitate nutritional intervention. Preventing poor nutrition in older adults makes a considerable impact on their overall health. Keys to prevention include utilizing nutritional risk screenings of the older adult population, education, and making sure elderly people have access to nutritious food. One area of focus that has been beneficial in preventing and improving poor nutrition in the elderly is food assistance programs.
Weighing The Options
There are a variety of nutrition programs available to the elderly people of the United States. It is imperative that people are made aware of the programs that are offered in their area. In Sheboygan County, there are few meal delivery options. Meals on Wheels delivers one noon meal per day for $5.50, a combination of a noon and dinner meal for $8.75, and weekend meals are offered for $5.50 per meal. People of all ages who are homebound or not able to prepare or acquire nutritious meals are eligible for Sheboygan MOW. Homebound is defined as “You rarely leave your home. Homebound people are able to go to doctor and dentist appointments and beauty salons, but they have difficulty doing so” (Meals on Wheels, 2011). The Sheboygan Division on Aging provides a number of senior dining sites as well as delivered meals for homebound seniors. To be eligible, a person or their spouse must be at least 60 years old. Many of these dining centers are open Monday through Friday, but some of the more rural sites are only open once a week. This program only offers a noon meal, but has a lower cost per meal when compared to Meals on Wheels. They suggest a donation of $3.00 per meal, but will not turn a person away if they are unable to contribute. Other counties offer a wide variety programs. Two programs offered in Milwaukee County include Aurora Mobile Meals and the Goodwill Milwaukee Program. The Goodwill Milwaukee Program is available to economically disadvantaged seniors of Milwaukee. ...

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