Senior hunger in the U.S. is a very real problem.
In 2014, three million seniors over 65 were victims of food insecurity, which means they did not have reliable access to sufficient quantities of affordable, nutritious food.
Seniors who live on their own, which is the goal of most, are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.
Too many older adults have limited access to transportation, feel they can’t afford nutritious food, have limited mobility to bring home food or prepare it once in the home and may be depressed as a result of loneliness or isolation all affecting how well they eat.
Being able to have healthy foods delivered right to their door could be the answer to their prayers.
Certainly there are home delivered meal services for seniors such as Meals on Wheels, but they are not available to all seniors and in some areas there may be a waiting list for services or seniors don’t like the foods provided.
These programs are important for many seniors, but what if they or family caregivers want a different option — or currently have no other option available where they live?
Home Delivered Meal Companies
In order to fill a void for seniors who want the convenience of complete meals with little prep other than reheating, companies are springing up to have chef prepared and healthy meals delivered to their door.
The choices, cost and quality of these meals varies widely, as with other products.
Seniors who are willing and able to pay the cost or long distance caregivers who would love to set up home delivered meals that they believe their seniors may actually eat would appreciate meals that were appetizing and easy to prepare, delivered when needed.
Prepared Meals Compare to Other Options
There are online grocery stores that deliver a variety of groceries to seniors and this is a great resource for many seniors. However, buying food and ingredients that need to be handled requires more effort to plan and prepare a meal for one person.
Purchasing and having delivered a full meal that is tasty and already prepared may be more appropriate for many aging in place seniors.
Many local home delivered meals services, such as Meals on Wheels, charge for the food they provide based on a sliding scale. SNAP benefits are beginning to cover the cost of home delivered meals but that money is limited and not enough seniors take advantage of that benefit so may not be receiving it when they could be eligible.
While most of the food is priced reasonably for many of the home delivered meals, cost is a consideration. Family caregivers at a distance may decide purchasing meals online gives them some peace of mind that is worth the expense.
There are a number of companies from which to choose when looking to order meals online or from local restaurants that deliver.
New Home Delivered Meal Offering
Recently we were given the opportunity to test nutritiously balanced meals prepared by a chef and designed by a doctor from a new company called Silver Cuisine by bistroMD. They provide prepared, frozen meals that require nothing more than reheating.
Silver Cuisine also has specialty diet offerings that are low in sodium, heart healthy, gluten-free or diabetic.
We were provided several Silver Cuisine meals by bistroMD for review purposes but received no compensation or conditions for our review. Our opinions about this particular product are our own.
The first step in receiving prepared meals at home is to go online to visit their website and pick a meal. How many meals, days of the week, etc. that you would like is up to you. You can get one meal or as many as you would like per shipment.
There were many, many meals (150 actually) from which to choose, with options such as beef, chicken, seafood, pork entrees, pasta, soup, and breakfast.
Our Taste Test and Findings
The meals from Silver Cuisine by bistroMD would be helpful for many of our senior loved ones who have small appetites because they are pre-portioned and their size is not overwhelming. We would anticipate little waste and no need for leftovers.
The cost of the meals were similar to buying from a restaurant or even other home delivered meal services you might find in your community. AARP members receive a 10% discount on all orders.
Shipping is free only for your first order and then will be added to your total. There are also weekly specials with discounted prices from which to choose. Family caregivers could help cover the cost to ensure their seniors are eating healthy foods every day.
The wide variety means seniors can try out different varieties that they might enjoy.
The meals are packaged well, arrive frozen in dry ice and come right to the door. There are adequate instructions and a booklet comes with the shipment for more information.
The meals need to remain frozen (they can be put in the refrigerator overnight before use) and then microwaved for 2-5 minutes depending on the item, then it is ready to eat.
We found most of the meals to be tasty especially considering that they took little work to simply microwave them. We added salsa, ketchup and other of our favorite condiments on some of the meals, which further enhanced the flavor.
Everyone, after all, has specific taste considerations and preferences.
Seniors should find several of the varieties acceptable compared to other prepackaged items, especially considering the healthy options. The egg white omelet was plenty flavorful with the additional sauce over the top.
Your senior loved one will probably want to try different options, since everything may not be acceptable or liked by everyone.
Some of the meals we received we wouldn’t order again but others were very good and something we would welcome the chance to eat in the future.
The portion size of the meals would be enough for some seniors, however some may find the portions waning. They may need to add a dessert, slice of bread or even a salad to fill up if the portion is small for them.
Many of the meal choices are designed to help you and your senior loved one manage their health and stay on their doctor prescribed diet. Heart Healthy meals are less than 600 mg sodium and low in saturated fat. The Diabetic meals are portion controlled with about 25 grams of net carbohydrate per meal.
They also have gluten free diet options if you are looking for that modification.
Caregivers Can Help Provide Adequate Nutrition
Ordering meals and helping seniors who might be at risk of not getting adequate nutrition is one thing family caregivers, whether local or long distance, could do, especially now that there are so many options available to us all.
We like the concept and offerings from Silver Cuisine and feel it is an option many seniors and family caregivers will find attractive. As with any other product you might want for your senior, there are options, so you might want to check out other online delivery systems, look online at your senior’s favorite local restaurant, investigate online grocery delivery, and be open to out of the box ways to help your senior eat right.
Helping our seniors eat well can have far reaching impacts including health, strength, disease management and a sense of being cared for by those they love and who love them.