Food is a basic need, and for seniors, proper nutrition takes on more importance. Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly difficult for seniors to prepare nutritious meals as they get older, and this is especially true if they are homebound or suffering from medical conditions.
If seniors don’t have access to a nutritious diet, it can be more difficult to ensure long-term health. This can turn into a vicious cycle in which the very conditions that prevent seniors from preparing healthy meals become increasingly worse due to poor diet.
According to Feeding America, 5.2 million seniors 60 and older faced hunger in 2020 alone. In 2021, the NCOA reported that 7.3 million older adults are food-insecure in the United States. According to a recent study, dietary quality has been deteriorating significantly among older Americans since 2001. The American Heart Association states that during this period, the number of older adults eating a poor diet increased from 50.9% to 60.9%.
Fortunately, local meal delivery providers can give your senior access to a truly healthy nutrition program. Finding these local meal solutions is easy thanks to our Resource Hub, where you can browse detailed listings of senior meal delivery providers in your neighborhood. With so many care options at your fingertips, you can maximize your senior’s well-being and quality of life with this free online resource and choose the best possible meal solutions.
Senior meal delivery: ensuring a healthy diet for your elderly loved one
What are local meal delivery providers?
Local meal delivery provides seniors with healthy food that meets their dietary needs. Homebound seniors and those who choose to age in place enjoy home-delivered meals, allowing them to live independently even if they’re no longer capable of preparing their own nutritious meals.
Meal solutions may come in many different forms. Some options include raw ingredients your senior can cook, while others take the form of pre-made meals that simply need to be reheated.
Although meal delivery companies can certainly benefit seniors, they have become popular for people from all walks of life. According to the most recent estimates, the food delivery market is now worth more than $150 billion—representing a three-fold growth since 2017.
Can meal delivery providers cater to my senior’s unique needs?
If your senior has special dietary needs, service providers can provide customized meal plans. For example, your senior may have religious restrictions that forbid certain foods. Or perhaps your senior was placed on a low-sodium diet or another nutrition program on the advice of their physician. Whatever the case, the best local meal delivery providers can adjust as necessary to promote your senior’s well-being.
What if my senior lives in a rural area?
While meal solutions can be more challenging in rural areas, a range of companies across the United States now serve virtually every area imaginable. Because the industry is experiencing such a major surge, it may be easier for your senior to find meal delivery than they think—even if they live in a rural area.
The senior population is growing at a faster rate than ever before and so is the demand for meal delivery. In 2022, it was reported that the Meals on Wheels program was serving record numbers of seniors amidst a continuing pandemic, heightened inflation and rising food costs.
Why would my senior need local meal delivery?
Your senior may need local meals delivered if they can no longer prepare their own healthy food. This seemingly simple task becomes much more difficult with age, especially if your senior is struggling with physical, visual, hearing or mental impairments. Not only does this task become more difficult, it also becomes more dangerous. The risk of burns, falls and other injuries becomes higher when seniors try to cook despite their impairments.
For example, a senior with visual impairments may accidentally start a fire because they cannot see an oil spill dripping next to a gas stove. Accidents with knives also become more common with age, especially if your senior is struggling with tremors and shaking hands.
Some seniors are perfectly able to cook, but they are homebound and can no longer make the trip to the grocery store. They may have lost the ability to drive safely, and the nearest grocery store may be too far away to reach by foot.
Your senior may also need help with meals if they’re suffering from a condition that requires very careful diet choices. For example, diabetes and heart disease may require meal programs your senior may not be capable of implementing or maintaining on their own.
In addition, treatments like chemotherapy can result in a significant loss of appetite that can be difficult to address without help.
What are some signs I should seek out meal delivery for seniors?
- Your senior has had accidents in the kitchen.
- Your senior seems to be subsisting on junk food and other poor choices.
- Your senior can no longer go grocery shopping without assistance.
- Your senior needs to follow a special diet recommended by their physician.
- Your senior is struggling with visual, mental or physical impairments.
Questions to ask yourself as you consider local meal solutions
- How much time am I spending each week preparing meals for my senior?
- What would happen if my senior continues to eat a poor diet?
- If my senior suffers a serious accident in the kitchen, could they become immobile and unable to age in place?
- Is my senior capable of cooking?
- Is my senior capable of driving to the grocery store?
What services do senior meal delivery solutions provide?
For seniors who can no longer cook independently, prepared meals present a viable solution. Your senior will not need to do any work to cook these meals, and they arrive in a state that requires basic preparation. For example, they might need to microwave the meal or heat it up in their oven. Some home-delivered meals arrive fresh and hot, requiring no preparation whatsoever.
For seniors who are still capable of some light cooking duties, meal kits represent a solid choice. Your senior will receive all of the various ingredients, and a set of instructions is usually provided. Most meal kits are designed to be prepared within 30 minutes, allowing you senior to enjoy preparing their meal without excessive physical labor. Meal kits are especially effective if your senior can no longer visit the grocery store independently.
Some local meal providers may do the grocery shopping on behalf of your senior. This allows your senior to get their favorite ingredients without having to drive or walk to the grocery store. Note that this option is only really effective if your senior is still capable of cooking safely. If not, prepared meals probably make more sense.
Some providers may also help with cleanup after the meal. This may include doing the dishes, cleaning and disinfecting. These services involve much more than healthy food delivery, essentially crossing into the territory of a traditional caregiver.
Questions about meal delivery for seniors
What questions should I ask the providers of senior meal delivery?
- How much do your services cost?
- What’s included with your local meal programs?
- Can you cater to my senior’s special dietary restrictions?
- How many meals will my senior get per day?
- When are your delivery days?
- Are there extra fees for delivery?
- Do you serve rural areas?
Which companies offer local meal delivery for seniors?
- Freshology: Freshology offers quick meal preparation and flexible meal plans, allowing your senior to choose nutrient-rich options that match their specific needs. Freshology also gives you access to health care coaching. Delivery fees may vary based on location.
- Silver Cuisine: Silver Cuisine is a meal delivery service designed specifically for seniors. Their meal plans are senior-specific, and they offer a wide range of dietary options. No subscription is required, and meals can be delivered on demand.
- Meals on Wheels: The Meals on Wheels program is the oldest and best-known nonprofit meal service for seniors. This company has been delivering hot meals to seniors in America for decades and is operated entirely by volunteers. Prices vary based on your circumstances, and some seniors receive free meals.
- Homestyle Direct: Homestyle Direct operates in more than 20 states, providing meals for about $7.95 each plus shipping. All meals are approved by a dietitian, and you can select options based on your senior’s specific dietary restrictions.
- Marley Spoon: Started by Martha Stewart, Marley Spoon has a reputation for being highly affordable. Only dinner options are available, and these choices are very easy to prepare while featuring fresh ingredients.
- Magic Kitchen: Magic Kitchen offers a wide range of choices for various diets, including diabetic and low-carb. Seniors only need to heat up these meals, and no actual preparation is necessary.
- Snap Kitchen: Snap Kitchen can provide your senior with six meals per week for under $80. These meals are also easy to heat up with a microwave or oven, and there are plenty of low-carb options to choose from.
- RealEats: RealEats offers meals that include nutritional labels, allowing you to see exactly what you’re eating. You can add breakfast options, and all meals are delivered fresh—never frozen.
- Mom’s Meals: Mom’s Meals caters to seniors recovering from surgery with meals made from locally sourced produce. This company provides renal-friendly, heart-friendly, low-sodium and cancer support options.
- Home Chef: Affordable at just $7 per meal, Home Chef is popular for people of all ages. This weekly meal kit comes with many customization options, including 20 different recipes to choose from. You can also select meals specially tailored for heart disease, diabetes and other medical conditions.
Talking about meal delivery for seniors
Talking about local meal delivery providers with family members can be difficult. It’s best to bring the entire family together, giving everyone a chance to have their say as you discuss this topic.
How to talk to family members about local meal delivery providers
Other family caregivers may be concerned about the cost of meal delivery for seniors. To justify this expenditure, you can point out that this service saves family caregivers from having to sacrifice their time and other obligations in order to maintain your senior’s diet.
You can also highlight the fact that local meal delivery solutions are much cheaper than placing your senior in a nursing home—a likely outcome if your senior loses the ability to age in place.
How to approach the topic of meal delivery with your senior
It’s important to approach this topic with a measure of consideration and care, as your senior might be embarrassed about the fact they can no longer cook for themselves. Many seniors take great pride in their cooking ability, and confronting the deterioration of these skills can be difficult.
Questions to help a senior consider local meal delivery solutions
- You’ve been cooking your entire life. Isn’t it time you let someone help?
- Wouldn’t it be so much easier to simply reheat your favorite meals instead of cooking from scratch?
- Don’t you want to have more time for hobbies and reading?
Paying for meal delivery for seniors
How much do local meals for seniors cost?
The cost of senior meal delivery may vary depending on a number of factors, including the company you choose, your location and the frequency of your meals. Additionally, there are nonprofits and charities that provide free meals to seniors who qualify.
Can I get help paying for senior meal delivery?
There are a number of options if you need funding assistance for local meal delivery for seniors:
- Medicare: For the most part, Medicare only provides coverage for medical-related costs. This means meal delivery usually isn’t covered. That being said, Part A does cover meals for inpatients at hospitals or skilled nursing facilities. Sometimes, Medicare also covers meal delivery on a temporary basis.
- Meals on Wheels: Meals on Wheels is a solid choice if your senior is struggling financially, as it will provide free meals to those who need them. This is a volunteer-run nonprofit organization, and recipients are simply asked to donate whatever they can.
- Medicare Advantage: Compared to Medicare A and Medicare B, there’s a much higher chance that Medicare Advantage plans will cover your food delivery costs.
- Government programs: A number of government programs may also provide funding for seniors who need local meal solutions. For example, the American Rescue Plan included funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). This provides nutritious, domestically sourced USDA foods to low-income individuals over the age of 60.
Senior meal delivery: a more affordable option
Here are your care options if your senior can no longer prepare their own meals:
- Start delivering or preparing healthy food for them.
- Move them to a nursing home.
- Use local meal delivery providers.
Senior meal delivery is much more affordable than nursing homes, and they provide you with more time to pursue your own careers and family obligations.
How can I find local meal providers for seniors?
If you’ve been searching your area for meal delivery for seniors, all you need to do is check our Resource Hub. This free online resource provides you with detailed listings to choose from, allowing you to pick the best possible senior meal delivery providers. Take a look today and provide your senior with a better quality of life through a more nutritious diet.