More Than a Meal Research Study, conceived by Meals on Wheels America, conducted by Brown University and funded by AARP Foundation, shows impact of meal service delivery on the health and well-being of adults 60 years of age and older.
MORE THAN A MEAL…Study Shows That a Daily Meal Delivery Significantly Helps Homebound Seniors
A recent study of Meals on Wheels participants, conducted by Brown University’s Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research and funded by AARP, demonstrated that participation in the traditional Meals on Wheels program – daily meals delivered by a volunteer who provides a friendly visit and safety check – has a significant, positive impact on the health, wellbeing, and social connectedness of homebound seniors. Key findings from the study were that seniors receiving daily meals exhibited improvements in their mental health, were less lonely, felt connected and less isolated, felt more confident about living independently in their own home, ate healthier foods, and experienced reduced rates of hospitalization and falls when compared to seniors who did not receive the service.
The study further concluded that Older American’s Act Nutrition Programs, like Meals on Wheels, help to reach our nation’s most vulnerable seniors who are at risk for hunger and isolation. An investment in Meals on Wheels is a direct investment in the well-being of our seniors, our communities, and our nation. The program demonstrates a very real return on investment. An entire year of meal delivery is equal to about seven days in a nursing home. Meals on Wheels programs saves significant taxpayer dollars by helping seniors stay in their home, not in a nursing home. The many positive health outcomes of receiving a meal translates to healthcare savings and supports the value of community nutrition services to healthcare systems, individuals, and families.
All of the data points to the conclusion that the social contact and well balanced meals, delivered by Meals on Wheels volunteers, significantly decreases hospitalization and readmissions by providing the nutrition needed to maintain health and wellbeing. Meals on Wheels does deliver “More Than a Meal.” The program provides seniors with peace of mind, safety, and, most importantly, the happiness that comes with vital human connections.