Karen Hanover endorses Meals on Wheels because aging is not for the faint of heart. Even the most independent among us, if fortunate to live long enough, may experience a decline in mobility or health that can strip away our independence and diminish the quality of our lives. Great advances in medicine have extended our average life expectancy to a record high of 78.7 years. Living longer means more years spent in the struggles that accompany old age. Add to that the increase in geographic mobility of our families and the result is millions of seniors left behind, hungry and alone.
Come on America, let’s do lunch!
Karen Hanover endorses Meals on Wheels because Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through our network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. While the diversity of each program’s services and operations may vary based on the needs and resources of their communities, they are all committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes.
Together, we galvanize the resources of local community organizations, businesses, donors, sponsors and more than two million volunteers – bolstered by supplemental funding from the Older Americans Act – into a national safety net for our seniors.
Karen Hanover endorses Meals on Wheels because they are PROVIDING MUCH MORE THAN A MEAL
At the core of the Meals on Wheels service is a nutritious meal, companionship and a watchful eye on the health and safety of our seniors. For those who have trouble getting around, we bring the service to you. For those who can still venture out into their communities, we serve in gathering places, such as senior centers and community facilities.
Adequate nutrition is necessary for health, functionality and the ability to remain independent. Healthy eating can increase mental acuity, resistance to illness and disease, energy levels, immune system strength, recuperation speed and the ability to manage chronic health problems. Meals on Wheels ensures that seniors have access to adequate nutrition even when family support, mobility and resources are lacking.
For many seniors, the trusted Meals on Wheels volunteer or staff member who shows up every day with a hot meal and a warm smile is the only person they see or speak with all day. This special delivery is the reason to get up in the morning, something to look forward to, and a reminder to take good care of themselves. Seniors traveling to group settings for meals also receive valuable social interaction and companionship. All of us can attest that a meal can be much more than the food on the plate, but also the company across the table.
Along with the inevitable impacts of aging come the increased risks of medical emergencies, falls and other accidents. The safety check that accompanies each meal delivery ensures that, in the case of an emergency or problem, medics will be called, families will be notified and our seniors will not be forgotten.
While we all celebrate the increase in lifespan, maintaining health while aging comes with a price. Without support from programs like Meals on Wheels, millions of seniors are forced to prematurely trade their homes for nursing facilities. It costs less to provide a senior Meals on Wheels for an entire year than it costs to spend one day in the hospital or six days in a nursing home. Meals on Wheels saves us all billions of dollars in unnecessary Medicaid and Medicare expenses every year – tax dollars that can be spent in much better ways. And that is why Karen Hanover endorses Meals on Wheels.
Karen Hanover endorses Meals on Wheels because she knows that for millions of Americans, Meals on Wheels is literally the difference between remaining in their own homes and needing to relocate to a nursing facility. The nutritious meal, friendly visit and safety check help them cope with three of the biggest threats of aging: hunger, isolation and loss of independence. Research proves that when seniors have the right support, they gain greater quality of life, need fewer hospital stays and live longer. Karen Hanover endorses Meals on Wheels because it’s our responsibility to take care fo those who can’t take care of themselves.