Good nutrition is a requirement for everyone. However, for seniors, having a steady, healthy diet comprising a lot of vegetables and fruits, fish, lean meat, and whole grains requires extra effort, so they may require senior meal delivery services.
This is probably why one in six seniors in the United States is said to be threatened by hunger. Around eight million seniors are going hungry or malnourished, according to the “Senior Hunger in 2019” post by Medicare Advantage.
Good nutrition is crucial to the health and wellbeing of seniors, especially since they are at an age where more diseases make their appearance. Therefore, it’s essential to understand why nutrition and cooking are a major challenge to seniors and the solutions to this situation.
Why older adults struggle with cooking and eating healthy
When it comes to shopping for ingredients and cooking tasty and nutritious meals at home, older adults tend to struggle because of the following reasons:
- Problems with balance and physical mobility make even simple tasks like peeling, slicing, chopping, holding a hot pan, lifting heavy things, and taking things in and out of the oven difficult.
- Poor memory makes it ill-advised for seniors to cook as they run the risk of burning the food they are cooking or starting a fire.
- Emotional problems, health issues, and fatigue can make it extra difficult for the elderly to feel motivated to cook. This is why seniors living alone or without a caregiver to help prepare their meals tend to skip meals or take shortcuts by eating convenience foods that are low in nutrition such as processed foods and fast food.
It’s a good thing there are already existing senior meal delivery services catering to this demographic.
Benefits of food delivery services for the elderly
There are several ways by which the elderly benefit from food or meal delivery services, including:
Health and adequate nutrition
Dedicated senior meal delivery services, being as specialized as they are, offer customized meals that cater to what’s popular among seniors. These services are equipped to address their special dietary requirements. With tailored food delivery services, malnutrition and related health complications arising from a poor diet can become a thing of the past. If, for example, the customer has sugar, cholesterol or sodium restrictions, the delivery service can customize meals accordingly.
Access to fresh and delicious food
One of the main advantages of food delivery services catering to seniors is that customers can expect to eat hot and freshly prepared meals every day. Some delivery services that are located quite a distance away from the customer will keep the food frozen to ensure its freshness. The food can then be reheated before consumption. Moreover, customers have the freedom to choose what menu items they want for certain days, so they can essentially eat food they are in the mood for throughout the week.
Cater to special dietary requirements
Related to the first point in this section, certain health conditions or ailments, such as diabetes, hypertension or gout among seniors usually require special diets. With meal delivery services, your loved one can always inquire if they can meet specific dietary requirements. There are also some services that have in-house health and culinary professionals who can take care of these special dietary requests from their customers.
Safety for senior customers
Aside from eliminating the need for the elderly to attempt to cook on their own, and getting rid of any fire risks arising from forgetting to turn off the stove or oven, food delivery services also address mobility concerns among their customers. So it’s safe to say that with your loved one’s food being delivered directly to them, mealtime couldn’t get any safer. All your loved one needs to do is wait for the delivery and eat.
Instead of spending time shopping for ingredients, washing, peeling, slicing, dicing, and cooking, which can easily tire out seniors, your loved one can just sit back and relax. After ordering your or your loved one’s readymade meals from a service provider, you save time and avoid tiring yourself out.
Although good food and nutrition are not things you want to skimp on, it helps to know that the fees or charges for meal delivery services are usually reasonable and affordable. There are even service providers that offer discounts if your loved one orders specific packages or promotional offers, as well as free alternatives if the senior customer meets certain requirements.
The social factor
Living alone as a senior or having a caregiver who leaves in the afternoon or at night can leave your senior loved one lonely at times. There are also days when your loved one may prefer to have someone to talk to and share meals with. This is why some services also offer free social visits to customers who ask for it.
How to choose a food delivery service
Selecting the best senior meal delivery provider for your loved one may seem straightforward. However, there is a lot to consider to ensure you choose a service that works well for you and your family.
If your loved one suffers from a health condition or food allergies and requires a special diet, a good meal service that allows for customized orders is your best bet. This means that if your loved one needs to have only certified halal or kosher foods due to religious reasons, or can only consume dairy-, sugar- or gluten-free alternatives, your meal delivery service wouldn’t mind taking care of your loved one’s special needs.
Although there are some free food delivery options, in case your loved one isn’t covered, you still need to find a good food delivery option that fits your budget. So if you happen to be on a tight budget, make sure you shop around and conduct extensive research until you find one that charges reasonable fees while also serving great food.
Be mindful of delivery schedules, the duration of delivery to your loved one’s location, and cutoff times for ordering food. This way, your loved one’s meal gets delivered on time, or without an unreasonably long wait.
Best senior meal delivery services
There is a wide variety of food delivery services catering to the senior members of society. These are divided into free or subsidized, and paid meal delivery services.
Free or subsidized services
Qualified senior citizens in the U.S. may use the following free or subsidized food delivery services:
1. Meals On Wheels
The company called Meals On Wheels is one of the most well-known and largest of its kind in the U.S. The company’s goal is to deliver free (or low-priced) nutritious meals to seniors. With over 5,000 restaurant partnerships in different states, Meals On Wheels not only delivers food that’s hot and fresh but is also tailored to suit specific nutritional needs. All you need to do is to let them know if your senior loved one is on a special diet.
Moreover, a major added bonus is that your loved one can ask for regular social visits in case there’s a need for some company or help around the house. Since this service is government-funded and depends a lot on donors and volunteers, those who can afford to are also encouraged to pay for deliveries as every dollar counts and goes a long way in helping the organization serve more seniors.
2. Mom’s Meals
Another food delivery service that provides quality dishes to seniors is Mom’s Meals. Regarded as a Medicaid food provider, Mom’s Meals are guaranteed fresh and nutritious, meeting the government’s and relevant healthcare agencies’ exacting standards.
The meals they provide are critical to the health of seniors with chronic diseases and those who are recovering after hospital confinement or struggling to be or stay healthy. Moreover, all the meals they serve are cooked by chefs so these are not only nutrition-packed but also flavorful and tasty. Customers can choose between frozen and fresh options, and from a wide variety of popular international cuisines. Food from Mom’s Meals can be enjoyed free of cost or for a small fee.
With Mom’s Meals, seniors get to choose from more than 50 different meals covering breakfast to dinner.
3. Project Angel Heart
Project Angel Heart is focused on providing free meals designed to meet the unique dietary requirements of individuals suffering from cancer, kidney disease, cardiovascular problems, HIV/AIDS, lung disease, and other serious, life-threatening health problems. The meals they serve are medically tailored to address the specific requirements of every patient or senior.
Although delivery services are focused on Denver and Colorado Springs, there are plans to expand their reach. Again, this service depends on donors, charities, volunteers and local agencies, and caters to young and elderly patient needs.
There are several paid senior meal delivery services on the market, such as:
This delivery service is all about healthy eating. Serving only nutritious, delicious, and healthy options, Freshology meals are all dietitian-designed and are delivered to you packed and ready to heat and eat. Customers can easily set up their account online and can make changes to plans, and pause or restart service as and when they want to.
The typical package comprising two meals delivered five days a week is priced at about $12.20 per meal, or $24.40 for a two-meal day. Freshology customers have four plans to choose from:
- Balance – calorie-controlled, heart-healthy plan
- Vegetarian and no-seafood
- Diabetes – heart-healthy and low sugar
- Keto-Carb30 – completely keto-friendly
2. Personal Chef To Go
Personal Chef To Go is a special food delivery service catering to seniors with cardiovascular health problems. The service prepares healthy lunches and dinners that adhere to the American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines designed to reduce the risk of heart-related diseases.
Those without any cardiovascular issues can simply select their favorite dishes from the menu. Moreover, only experienced and competent chefs and dietitians get to prepare all types of meals, including ethnic food. The meals are fresh and ready to eat. Upon delivery, all you need to do is reheat the food in a microwave for less than three minutes. They offer weekly and bi-weekly orders, with food plans starting at $78. They also offer free shipping to addresses on the East Coast.
3. Silver Cuisine
For the ultimate senior meal delivery service, you can’t go wrong with Silver Cuisine. The meals here are designed to ensure balanced nutrition for people age 50 and above. They offer various specialty diets such as low carb, gluten-free, diabetic, low sodium, dairy-free, menopause friendly, heart-healthy and Mediterranean inspired.
Ordering is a breeze as you can do it online or by phone. Breakfast meals are usually priced at $9, while a lunch or main course set goes for around $12, plus shipping at $19.95 for all orders.
4. Magic Kitchen.com
Offering a wide variety of nutritious meals, customers of Magic Kitchen.com can choose from an a la carte menu. They also offer complete meal bundles featuring mains and sides. Customers have the option to set up a meal plan to start regular deliveries. Magic Kitchen.com will also choose your meal plan menu based on your preferences.
The Magic Kitchen.com offers vegetarian diets, dairy-free, gluten-free, diabetic, low carb, low fat, low sodium, and even options that are compatible with Weight Watchers. You or your loved one can also opt for senior-specific meal plans with the right nutrition for older adults.
Breakfast is priced at around $9 to $12, and main courses at around $13 to $16. It is important to note that options are usually sold in pairs, so you end up paying around $30 for each main course you order. The cost of shipping is usually determined by the weight of your order, as well as your location.
Ordering is easy as you may do so online, by phone, or via email.
Assisted living at San Bernardino
Aside from senior meal delivery services, you or your loved one can have an easier time ensuring health and nutrition with our assisted living program. We have all-day restaurant-style dining facilities to take care of your dietary requirements without the fuss and worry.
For more information, please get in touch with us.