Reaching vulnerable populations, even with offers to help, isn’t always easy. Mobility issues keep some aging adults housebound and unable to engage regularly in their community. Skepticism keeps some individuals from participating in health plan programs designed to improve their health or well-being. And intervening is never easy, particularly for those with housing insecurity.
Open doors with home-delivered meals
Many of our health plan and community agency partners are finding home-delivered meals as a successful approach to opening doors to stay connected. Of course, the most important benefit of home-delivered meals for aging adults and other vulnerable people is better nutrition.
Meal delivery has another important positive impact on a key social determinant of health: loneliness.
- For example, a study from the Journals of Gerontology: Series B and funded by the AARP Foundation showed that home-delivered meals reduce the self-reported sense of loneliness in senior citizens. Just seeing someone even once a week helped them feel more connected.
- CareMore Health, an integrated health plan and care delivery system for Medicare and Medicaid patients, has developed a first-in-the-industry clinical program to address loneliness in their patient population. The program, called The Togetherness Program, works by focusing on a patient’s physical, social, and psychological health. Participants receive regular outreach by phone and in person. Some CareMore patients also receive home-delivered meals, after discharging from an inpatient stay or for better managing a chronic condition. Initial results from program participants show increased involvement in exercise programs, reduced ED usage, and hospital admission rates.
Connecting with aging adults through home delivered meals also helps them access other beneficial programs that can keep them healthy and out of the hospital.
At Mom’s Meals®
, we find that adding a meal program increases individuals’ overall willingness to engage. Here are some ideas for getting the most mileage from your meals program:
- For members who may move a lot and don’t have secure housing, offering meal delivery can be a good mechanism for ensuring you always have their up-to-date information.
- Offering meal programs to individuals with chronic health conditions – such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease – can help increase participation rates in other health management programs. This is especially true because of the new flexibility added as part of the CMS 2020 Call Letter for Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI), so incorporating this type of program has never been easier.
- Combining a meal delivery program with other supportive offerings, such as nutrition education and/or HbA1c monitoring, compounds the positive impact.
Mom’s Meals delivers nutritious, fully-prepared, refrigerated meals to aging adults, as well as other patient populations, in their homes around the nation. Learn more here.