Meal Delivery Services For Seniors
Healthy eating is important for people of all ages, but especially for older adults whose nutritional needs change during the aging process.
Seniors walk a delicate balance between eating foods with high nutritional value and eating fewer calories. Research shows that because an older adult’s ability to absorb and use nutrients becomes less efficient, their nutrient requirements increase.
However, to know the best foods to eat to get the nutrients needed while avoiding excess weight gain can create a dilemma for some adults.
What’s more, going to the store, shopping for nutritional foods, returning home, and preparing meals is more challenging for seniors who lack transportation, have limited mobility, and limited financial resources.
Fortunately, meal delivery services are coming to the rescue for seniors who find it difficult to fix nutritional meals three times a day, seven days a week.
Meal Delivery Services for Seniors
Some meal delivery companies only serve seniors while others provide meals to individuals and families, along with older adults.
Seniors can order individual meals or meal bundles and have the pre-cooked food conveniently shipped or hand-delivered to their front door.
The following are popular meal delivery programs that serve seniors throughout the United States:
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is the largest and most well-known meal delivery programs for seniors in the United States. The nonprofit organization delivers cooked meals to homebound seniors 60 years old and over, and adults with disabilities who cannot prepare meals for themselves or obtain food on their own.
With more than 5,000 Meals on Wheels locations nationwide, the program operates with paid staff and 2 million volunteers who deliver meals to more than 2.4 million seniors on weekdays, with weekend meals delivered on Friday.
The high-protein meal comes with fruit, vegetables, an entrée, milk, bread, and dessert. There are also diets for people who are diabetic and those who need low-cholesterol and low-sodium meals.
The average cost to produce and deliver a meal is between $6 to $7, and each local Meals on Wheels program sets its own payment options. Generally, seniors are asked to contribute $3.00, but some older adults receive meals for free.
Some Medicare Advantage plans cover Meals on Wheel, and some local programs accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, previously known as the federal food stamp program.
Homestyle Direct offers a wide selection of low-fat, carb-controlled meals certified and approved by a licensed dietician.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals have about 350 to 550 calories, and feature chicken, turkey, seafood, pork, and beef, along with vegetable, fruit blends, and a variety of other sides. Vegetarian meals, renal-supported meals, and other specialty meals are available.
Medicaid covers home-delivered meal costs for seniors and people with disabilities in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
The ready-to-go meals are also available to purchase directly by non-Medicaid recipients for $6.95, plus shipping and handling.
MagicKitchen.com offers pre-cooked meals for individuals and families, but the company’s primary focus is its Senior Meal Programs. The chef-prepared meal offerings are portion-controlled, dairy-free, gluten-free, as well as low in fat, sodium, and carbs. Vegetarian meals are available, as are meals for people with kidney problems and diabetes.
The Senior Meal Program includes one, two, or three complete meals per day. One complete meal, for instance, with the choice of breakfast, lunch, or dinner costs $82 to $90 per seven days. An a-la-carte menu includes single-serve meals for $12. Soups, breads, and desserts are also offered.
Mom’s Meals offers up to 60 choices of fresh-made foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. All of the chef-designed, pre-made meals have 400 to 700 calories per meal.
A sample menu includes a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast, a BBQ pork rib patty sandwich and smokehouse creamed corn for lunch, and homestyle beef meatloaf with mashed potatoes and seasoned vegetables for dinner.
Mom’s Meals also offers nine different health condition menus tailored to common medical issues, such as kidney problems, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Self-pay meals are $6.99 per meal or $7.99 for Pureed. Seniors who qualify for economic assistance through government-funded nutrition programs, such as the Medicaid Waiver program, may be eligible for Mom’s Meals Long-Term Services and Support/Home and Community Based Service Program.
Silver Cuisine by bistroMD
Silver Cuisine, founded by Dr. Caroline Cederquist, a board-certified physician in bariatric medicine, has a rotating menu of 150 different healthy meal options.
The chef-prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner use fresh ingredients that provide the nutrition needed for adults 50 years old and over. Besides meals featuring grilled salmon with creamy pesto, eggplant lasagna casserole, and chicken pot pie crumble, there’s also dessert, protein shakes, and snacks.
Silver Cuisine offers specialty meals that are low in sodium and carbs, dairy-free, and gluten-free to accommodate health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
Meal costs can range anywhere from $7.49 to $13.99, depending on the type of meal ordered.
Older Adults Lack Nutrients in a Standard Diet
Older adults can get the nutrients they lack by taking supplements, such as vitamin D (which helps absorb calcium), and vitamin E (which protects cells from damage caused by free radicals). However, eating a variety of nutritionally balanced meals on a regular basis is even better.
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), an older adult’s food plate should look like a rainbow because of brightly colored foods on it, such as:
- Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
- Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
- Fruits and vegetables (green, red, orange)
- Low-fat dairy products, including milk and its alternatives
Meal delivery services provide these and other nutrients in healthy meals designed to benefit seniors.