Hunger and malnourishment among seniors in America was a problem even before the pandemic. The American Academy of Family Physicians has reported that nearly 4 million seniors suffer from malnourishment, and the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger says that 1 senior in 7 is at risk to the threats of hunger. In many cases, this is caused not by poverty, but by seniors not being able to feed themselves — either because they live alone and have trouble cooking or going out to shop, or don’t have the close support of family and caregivers.
JABA’s Home-Delivered Meal Program has been delivering healthy meals for years to low-income area seniors unable to leave their homes without assistance, prepare their own meals due to disability or ill health and don’t have a caregiver to prepare meals for them. During the pandemic, when our Community Senior Centers and Adult Care Centers were closed, many of our members found themselves technically homebound under the requirement to self-isolate, a double-whammy for seniors for whom isolation can be detrimental to their health and well-being.
“The need for this program now and in the future has never been so obvious than during the past year and a half,” says Emily Foreman, JABA’s Manager of Senior Nutrition Programs, pointing out the increased isolation experienced by area seniors as a result of COVID-19. “We went from providing a total of 10,421 home-delivered meals in the third quarter of 2020 to providing 15,243 meals during the fourth quarter, when our Community Senior Centers stopped gathering as a result of COVID-19.”
Our sites were closed, but we were able to continue to sustain nutritional support to those who requested it. Meals on Wheels, our vendor Mom’s Meals and a host of staff and volunteers stepped up to the plate and helped us distribute far more meals to elders in need than we had ever done before. Moving forward, JABA’s Home Delivered Meals Program will continue to be a vital part of our core services, especially in the months ahead, as we remain vigilant about the risks of gathering in public.
Do you know a low-income, homebound older adult struggling to prepare their own well-balanced meals, without a caregiver to help them? Call 434.817.5253 to learn more about JABA’s Home Delivered Meals Program.