Cooking for one or even two, presents challenges as we age. It can be difficult to shop and prepare healthy, well-balanced meals on a daily basis. Did you know the Older Americans Act provides grants to State and community senior organizations to help provide a healthy, well-balanced meals for older adults? Through the Community dining and home delivered meal programs, seniors struggling with isolation and loneliness or those who have difficulty buying or preparing meals for themselves have two great options! Older adults who have transportation can get a healthy meal and spend time with friends in a community dining setting. Homebound seniors, unable to shop, prepare or obtain meals, can also receive a nutritious meals delivered to their homes up to five days per week, often by a friendly volunteer.
Community dining meals and those offered to homebound older adults are approved by Registered Dietitians and provide 1/3 of the daily nutrition needs of the average older adult. Older Adults must be 60 and older to qualify to receive meals or be a disabled person or spouse residing with an eligible individual. There is no income or asset requirement for community dining or home delivered meals. A suggested donation is requested and appreciated for all meals, however it is also not required. No one is denied a meal if unable or unwilling to contribute.
While the importance of offering nutritious meals to older adults cannot be overstated, having the opportunity to join others for a meal in a community setting is a great way to get out of the house and see other people. No one likes to eat alone and having the ability to join others who are the same age, with a similar history and experiences can make for an enjoyable dining experience!
For homebound seniors, having a friendly face greet them each day while delivering a nutritious meal, can be something to look forward to and serve as a daily well-being check. For more information on Community and home delivered meals, a contact list has been provided. If your County is not represented on this list, please call your local Agency on Aging and they will be able to assist you.
This article was submitted by Leslie Edstrom, Community Planning Division Manager for The Agency on Aging Northeastern Illinois. Leslie has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a specialization in Gerontology.