6 In-home Meal Service Options for Seniors
Today, many seniors wish to age in place — in the home they’ve known and loved for decades.
But one of the biggest requirements for aging in place is continuing to eat healthy. As seniors age, grocery shopping and cooking may become much harder. As a result it becomes very tempting to dine out frequently or purchase pre-packaged, frozen meals.
The problem is, if you’re not careful, restaurant dining and microwavable frozen meals can be high in sodium and fats. They can also make it harder to stick to dietary restrictions.
So where can seniors living at home — or their caretakers — turn for help?
In-home meal services.
There are more meal delivery and preparation services on the market today than ever before — and each offers its own unique set of benefits. The prices can also vary widely.
Before we get into them, let’s talk about the benefits of turning to one of these services:
- Nutrition. This is far and away the biggest benefit. In-home meal delivery services are often a much healthier alternative to dining out and packaged foods. In addition, they can often be tailored to meet your specific dietary needs.
- Convenience. In-home meal service options make meal planning easier. In addition, they can help eliminate the need to go shopping and lug groceries around.
- Safety. As we age, it can become harder — or even dangerous — to cook at home. Cooking requires a lot of standing, the use of sharp knives and the need to work near a hot stove. For those with balance issues, disabilities or chronic health conditions this could be a dangerous recipe. Delivery options also bring someone to the home, providing another set of eyes — and possibly companionship — to help ensure the safety and happiness of the recipient.
- Taste. Many of today’s in-home meal delivery options include the freshest of ingredients and the most modern recipes, which can make for tastier dishes. Taste is one of the biggest reasons people return to meal delivery services again and again.
What are your options?
While this list doesn’t include every option available to today’s seniors, it’s a great snapshot of the kinds of services that are available.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels offers in-home meal delivery options to nearly every community in America through its network of more than 5,000 independently run local programs.
What’s great about it: Meals on Wheels can provide more than just a nutritious meal; it can also provide companionship and someone to help keep an eye on the recipient. The meals may also be offered on a sliding price scale to help increase affordability when necessary.
Delivered meal kits
Companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, as well as Plated and others deliver fresh ingredients and recipe cards right to your door as often as every week. These aren’t meal delivery services. You have to cook these meals on your own.
What’s great about it: You can pick the recipes you want to receive, and the menu is always changing. The popularity of these services is exploding because of the convenience, ease, nutrition, and variety of the food and recipes they provide and introduce customers to. Plus, at about $10 per serving, they can be a much cheaper option than dining out.
On-demand restaurant delivery
Several websites and smartphone apps from companies like DoorDash and Grubhub have made ordering from local restaurants easier and more efficient. Just enter your address, and the application will present you with restaurants in your area that deliver.
What’s great about it: Users can find new and exciting restaurants to try and have their meals delivered right to their door. Many of the applications can process the payment for you.
Some local grocers are now beginning to offer food delivery services. Even Amazon has gotten in on the act with AmazonFresh, a delivery service that can provide you with groceries, home essentials and even meal kits with a few clicks of a mouse.
What’s great about it: This can virtually eliminate trips to the grocery store. However, you’ll need to verify if delivery is available in your area.
Some senior centers and community outreach organizations offer meal delivery services. Reach out to your local senior center, and ask what meal options they offer. Many will require you to dine there or pick it up yourself, but some are starting to branch out and offer delivery options.
What’s great about it: Engaging the services of a senior center can not only give you access to hot, nutritious meals, but also act as a gateway through which you can learn about all of the other programs and services being offered in your neighborhood.
In-home chef services
There are now a variety of in-home personal chef options available. Websites like HireaChef.com can help connect you with a personal chef in your area. There’s also stand-alone personal chef services like Friend That Cooks and Chefs for Seniors, the latter of which is specifically designed to provide seniors with nutritious, tasty meals and regular companionship.
What’s great about it: A personal chef can tailor meals specifically to your tastes, appetite and dietary restrictions. They can even help with large family gatherings and special occasions.
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