About Us

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Our program serves healthy meals at no charge to seniors over 60 in Yakima County (outside of the Yakama Reservation). We have 6 dining rooms in congregate settings and offer home delivered meals for those that qualify. In 2016 our program served over 92,200 nutritious meals to seniors.

 

The Senior Nutrition/Meals-On-Wheels program was created to address a serious health issue of America’s senior citizens: poor or inadequate nutrition. The program created was called the Older American Nutrition Program and was split into two activities: Congregate meal sites and home-delivery (Meals-On-Wheels). Both programs indented to increase the health, quality of live and extend the time in which a senior can remain independent and in their own home.

 

Although a number of factors contributed to the health risk several seem to stand out. The studies showed that when people reached their senior years their eating habits changed. Being used to preparing healthy meals for a family, with their children no longer in the home it was difficult to cut down a menu for a large family to just two people, and when a spouse was lost, the problem increased. Meals became snacks, or a meal no longer consisted of a balance of nutrition but rather just something to fill the stomach. Along with the loss of the spouse there may also be a the loss of friends. That along with declining health, the senior no longer has an interest in going anywhere, their friends are in nursing homes or have died. They were prone to become shut ins. They get lonely, depressed and lose their appetite. An interesting finding was that a senior’s income had very little to do with hunger. Even wealthy seniors experienced poor nutrition. With the congregate meal sites, the senior could receive a nutritious meal and just as important meet new friends and most important: socialization. For those who could get out of their home but no longer drive, the program provides transportation would be provided.

 

For those seniors who because of illness were homebound and no longer able to prepare a healthy nutritious meal, the Meals-On-Wheels program would deliver hot, nutritious meals to their home. Follow-up studies on the effectiveness of the nutrition program has shown that Meals-On-Wheels intervention extends the time a senior can stay in their home instead of being placed into a nursing home by at least 3 months. That follow-up also revealed two other major findings: the health of the senior receiving meals through either program is better, they have fewer doctor visits and the cost of the program is offset by the savings to the system. For the cost of 3 days institutionalization (hospital or nursing home) we can feed the senior for a year.