With the Baby Boomers now surging into retirement and people living longer, the senior segment of the American population is rapidly growing. Needs and daily routines are very different in this stage of life, and senior meal services are seeing a rise in demand.
NPR has quoted several estimates that perhaps as many as a million seniors still living at home are malnourished. Also, as much as half of long-term care facility residents might also be suffering from malnutrition. All this increases the possibilities of falls, frailty, and illness.Read More »
Why Are Seniors Picking Meal Delivery Services?
There are many reasons why seniors or those that care of them are choosing food delivery services:
Economical: Given the sheer scale, senior meal services can sometimes prove more affordable for seniors who would otherwise spend money on carry-out, frozen meals, or just eating out.
Nutrition: When preparing food or meals gets too hard, quite a few seniors usually do one of two things. First, they resort to packaged foods and their poor health consequences. Second, they just don’t eat as much anymore if at all. In either case, they are no longer getting the nutrients they need.
Personalized Diets: For many Americans, their diets need to be gluten-free and/or low in sodium. A structured meal plan can make life much easier for those as well as for anyone with diabetes.
Safety: Individuals who have a particular chronic health condition might find it dangerous to work with a hot stove. It might also be hard to bring in heavy groceries and/or stand for long stretches chopping and cooking fresh foods. This can be especially hard for anyone recovering from heart disease.
Save Time: If you’re a caregiver, you probably have a tremendous amount of responsibility in life, meaning meal prep can fall to the wayside. Also, seniors who spent years cooking meals might just want to finally delegate this task to somebody else.
Socialization: Loneliness is as huge an issue to seniors as it malnutrition. Getting meals delivered can mean friendly visits that offer interaction with another person.
Taste: This will be different for every service, but some companies provide some seriously delicious food to eat.
Having said all this, there can be potential downsides to senior delivery services for meals, based on your family’s circumstances and which particular service you wind up choosing.
Expense: If you or a loved one needs three meals per day and snacks covered, then it might run at least $30 a day. For most months, that comes out to $900. That may or may not be cheaper than eating out, packaged/frozen foods, and carry-out.
Minimal Cooking: This is actually a benefit for those who have a hard time cooking or just don’t want to do it. However, many love cooking or just having some sense of independence and self-reliance, and delivery service can rob them of that.
Repetitive: You get the very same ingredients, time and again. Senior meal delivery businesses have to watch their production costs just as closely as any other outfit. Often, that means they choose the cheapest seasonal veggies for their lineup.
Set Menus: You might not get a lot of control over the things you eat. Delivered meals get prepared in bulk volumes. While various dietary needs can be accounted for, once the menu is set for the week, there’s no going back.
Should You Do It?
The final decision about this shouldn’t be which service to pick per se. Your focus should be on what gets you or the senior you love a nutritious and steady diet. Fortunately, most services in this industry do things month by month, meaning you can try it out without a long-term commitment. See for yourself if it fits your family’s needs or not.
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