As we and the people we love age, it’s important to keep in mind the importance of both good nutrition and social interactions. Eating alone often leads to poor nutrition and can be particularly depressing. A recent study by Kali S. Thomas, Brown University, shows increased levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness, and poorer quality of life for people who are on waitlists for Meals on Wheels or who receive weekly shipments of frozen meals, as compared with people who get daily meal deliveries.
Put differently, home-delivered meals not only help older adults remain in their homes longer, but they have mental and physical health benefits. Based on answers to survey questions, the study found that older adults receiving daily meals showed improved mental health and fewer falls and hospitalizations. They felt less isolated and safer, perhaps because of the sense they were being checked on by the people delivering their home-delivered meals.
Many older adults lack any social interactions. which are critical to quality of life. They live alone and have no family or friends to help them over an extended period of time. The study found that those on waiting lists for home-delivered meals rated their health less well than others living in the community. And, they worried about their ability to continue to live in their homes.
If you’re interested in learning more about home-delivered meals for yourself or someone you love, contact your local area agency on agency at 1-800-677-1116. For additional free and low-cost resources for older adults, including friendly visiting programs, click here.