8 Ways to Get Food and Nutrition to Your Parents When You Can’t be There

Food and adequate nutrition are the number one necessary things that your parents need as they get older.  Yet, one in 6 seniors struggle with hunger.  A balanced diet could help build the energy needed just to accomplish everyday tasks like walking and bathing in a safe manner.  Good nutrition also helps to lower the risk of chronic health conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

With normal aging comes a decrease in ability to create a shopping list, drive, walk long distances, and carry heavy packages; all the things that are necessary to complete one trip to the grocery store.  As a family caregiver, it should be your top priority to ensure that your parents are getting adequate nutrition.  I know that life gets busy, but luckily, there are several options that will help you to ensure that your parents get the food they need, whether you live across the country, across town or in the same household.  Below, you will find information on the best options that I could find to meet your senior’s nutritional needs, including what is unique about each one.

Meals on Wheels America

It’s likely that the first thing that comes to mind when trying to find food for your elderly parent is Meals on Wheels.  It’s with good reason.  The Meals on Wheels program is huge.  It started in 1954 and is run in over 5,000 communities across the United States and serves over 2.4 million seniors every year.  There is an added bonus of using Meals on Wheels.  Your parent will have a face-to-face encounter everyday with the delivery driver, often, it’s the same driver for months or years.  This human contact is essential for the well being of your senior, and is often the only contact that some seniors have on a daily basis.  The drivers are trained to recognize any issues that might seem out of the ordinary for that senior, and they are instructed to contact their office if the senior does not answer their door, and the office staff will further investigate.  It’s just one more added layer of security and comfort that you and your parent will have.

Meals on Wheels has a recommend a suggested donation for the 3 meals a day, 5 days a week program of about $6 a day.   But like it says, it is a suggested donation and no one is ever turned away due to inability to pay.  If you think about it, if you paid the suggested donation for an entire year, it’s still way less than the cost of just one day in the hospital! It’s easy to find the location that serves your area by going to www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org and entering your parent’s zip code.  Some areas may have a waiting list, but put your name on it and use one of the other options found in this article to tide your parents over while you are waiting.

The Meals on Wheels programs are 80% reliant on federal funding.  This means that if the cuts in senior programs are approved in Washington, then this program may very well see huge changes.  Get on the program while you can and keep your fingers crossed.

LifeSpring Nutrition

This company provides home delivered, senior specific, frozen meals across the United States, that are ready to heat anytime.  They can accommodate special diets such as diabetic, lower sodium, renal, vegetarian and health conscious.  Meals cost $6-$12, but you can save money by ordering a pre-selected package, and don’t forget to look on the website for discounts of 10-21% off.  One of the things I like about LifeSpring Nutrition is that they also have cookies, ice creams and juice available for delivery.

LifeSpring is located in Irvine, California and provides free delivery on orders over $80 to their customers in California, Nevada and Arizona.  They will also offer a discounted delivery fee to customers in all other states if the order is over $80.  You can get your order delivered the next day if you order by 10:00a.m.

Silver Cuisine by Bistro MD

They offer gourmet frozen food delivery nationwide via Federal Express.  They advertise to be “Doctor Designed, Chef Prepared” and they have the nutritional needs of the over 50 population in mind.  This is not your ordinary frozen meal delivery program.  They have wonderful offerings such as chicken pad Thai and chipotle pineapple smoked pork street tacos.  They have lots of snacks to offer and even have protein shakes!  I love that they have no minimum order and no commitments.  Take a look at their website and you will see mouth-watering pictures of all of their food options.

Silver Cuisine provides choices for those in need of low sodium, diabetic, heart healthy, low carb, dairy-free, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.  They even have meals recommended for menopausal women!

Their prices are about $6-9 for breakfast and $8-13 for lunch and dinner.  But you can get 10% off plus free shipping on orders over $99.  And they seem to always have items on sale for $2-3 off per meal.  These are easily identifiable on their menu.

Healthy Chef Creations

They have a different spin on home delivered meals.  These are not frozen meals.  They are fresh cooked, specially sealed meals, delivered weekly and ready to eat.  They have a Healthy Senior program to meet the nutrition needs of your parents.  All of their foods are made with organic and all natural ingredients.  Organic and delivered fresh translates to a higher price, but it just may be well worth it.

Health Chef Creations offers 3, 5 or 7 days a week options.  The more weeks you commit to, the lower the daily cost is.  For instance, on the 5 days a week plan with a one week order would be $54.99/day.  With a 2 week order, it’s $50.99/day, with a 4 week order it is $49.99/day and with a 13 week delivery commitment, the price drops to $41.99/day.  One unique advantage that they have is that you can up-size your meals for $3 more per day.   The drawbacks are that you do not get to choose the food and there are no pictures of the meals on their website.

Magic Kitchen

Magic Kitchen also has meals to accommodate the nutritional needs of seniors, and they also have meals specially made for renal diet, gluten free, low sodium, low carb and low fat needs. What I like about Magic Kitchen is that you can order family-sized meals that can serve up to six people.  This would be great for busy family caregivers who may have their parent as well as their own children in the home.  This would feed the whole crew and meet the senior’s needs at the same time.  Some of their family-size meals include chicken pot pie and beef pot roast with mushroom gravy.  Family meals even come with desserts!  Again, no commitment required here and they even offer a senior discount of $10 off orders over $80.00.

 

Prime Now (Amazon)

Did you know that Amazon delivers groceries?  In two hours?  Who would have known?  Yes, fresh vegetables, dairy, meat and other household essentials delivered to your parent in just 2 hours.  This service is exclusively for Amazon Prime members. Amazon Prime costs $99/year.  In addition to access to Prime Now home delivery, Prime members also get free shipping on all Amazon orders, exclusive savings on Amazon, unlimited streaming of movies and music, and free unlimited photo storage on the Amazon cloud.  I have to admit that I am an Amazon junkie and place at least 2-3 orders a month.  I have been known to complete my entire Christmas shopping on Amazon.  So Amazon Prime is a no-brainer for me, and with Prime Now included in the annual fee I will certainly be trying out the grocery delivery service.

Instacart

This home delivery service is available primarily along the East Coast, Texas and the Northern and Southern California metro cities, plus a few scattered cities across the United States.  The nice thing is that you can shop not only at grocery stores, but also at warehouse stores like Costco, drug stores like CVS, pet stores and beverage warehouses.  The delivery charge is about $6-9 depending on the time slot chosen and the dollar amount of your order.   They also charge a “busy time” fee when they have a high volume of orders.  They do offer free delivery on your first order.   One nice thing is that you can pre-pay for Instacart Express, which is a one-time fee of $149 for one year of unlimited free deliveries and no “busy time” fees added.  This is an excellent option for making grocery purchases to be delivered to your parent’s door, even if you live across the country.

Grocery Store Chain Delivery Service

In my area, a few of the large grocery chains will deliver groceries right to my door.  I use Vons in my area here in North Orange County California.  I recommend you do a Google search for “grocery store delivery service” in the city where your parent lives.  You will find grocery stores or shopping services that cover your parent’s area.

I hope that you found some helpful resources here to help get necessary food to your parent.  Not all programs will work in every situation.  My father, for instance, lives in a rural area north of Sacramento.  There is a Meals on Wheels program that services his area, but there are no grocery store delivery services available in his area.  The best option for his situation is the home delivered meal services that can be delivered via Federal Express.

Have you found other resources for getting food to your parent?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

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