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5 Benefits of Home-Delivered Meals for Older Adults

Volunteers bring far more than just food, and it makes a difference

By Madeline Vann and

(This article appeared previously on

Home-delivered meals may seem like a small thing, but they can be invaluable for older adults living alone. Meals delivered to elderly adults’ doorsteps provide both nutrition and comfort to a vulnerable population. And they’re a cost-effective way to keep aging adults in their own home longer, research shows.

The benefits of meal services go beyond continuing to live in your own home as you age — programs such as Meals on Wheels, which follows a “more than a meal” philosophy, can reduce loneliness and increase safety. The “more than a meal” ethos means that volunteers not only greet meal recipients and get to know them, but pay attention to their well-being and the condition of their home and neighborhood.

“We’ve known for a long time, anecdotally, that having more eyes on a homebound individual is valuable,” says Linda Netterville, vice president of program development and impact at the Meals on Wheels national headquarters. Netterville explains that Meals on Wheels is undertaking several nationwide research projects to figure out how to maximize their existing “eyes on the ground” power to get a better awareness of their meal recipients’ health statuses.

Watching Their Health

Madeline Vann, MPH, is a freelance health journalist based in Williamsburg, VA. She has a master of public health degree from Tulane University in New Orleans and over a decade of experience as a health and medical freelance writer. Her writing has appeared in HealthDay,, the Huffington Post, Costco Connection, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Huntsville Times and numerous internal and external corporate and academic publications. Read More
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