HealthDay/U.S. News: Meals on Wheels Delivers an Extra Health Bonus for Seniors

2 min
July 08, 2019


July 8, 2019

BY ROBERT PREIDT, HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Meals on Wheels might do more than deliver hot food to isolated seniors: New research suggests it can serve as an early warning system for declining health.

The study included Meals on Wheels drivers in Guernsey County in Ohio and San Diego County, who were trained to use a mobile app to alert care coordinators if the drivers had a concern or noticed a change in a senior’s condition.

The care coordinators then followed up with seniors to provide support and connect them with health and community services.

Over the 12-month study period, the drivers submitted 429 alerts for 189 clients. The most frequent alerts were for changes in health (56%), self-care or personal safety (12%) and mobility (11%).

Follow-ups on the alerts led to 132 referrals, with most for self-care (33%), health (17%) and care management services (17%), according to the researchers at West Health Institute at Brown University in Rhode Island and Meals on Wheels America.

The study was published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

West Health and Meals on Wheels America plan to expand the research program to as many as 30 Meals on Wheels sites across the United States, that include about 40,000 seniors.