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Increased Enrollment in Meal Services for Seniors

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - June 5, 2013

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Meal services are available through organizations like Meals on Wheels, church organizations and senior center associations. These meal services offer seniors one to two meals a day that are freshly prepared and designed to give the most nutrition possible. Normal enrollment for these programs has been steady for the past few years. However, 2013 saw an increase in enrollment in these services as well as increased enrollment in food pantries. There are several reasons that lead to this enrollment increase and all of them lead back to economic issues.

Health Care Increases

It may not seem that health care would enter into enrollment numbers for meal services. The truth is many seniors are now facing the choice between their prescription drug medications that keep them alive or food. This means that sometimes food takes a backseat and leads seniors to eating the cheapest possible meals. However, if the senior can take advantage of different meal service plans they can have both their prescription drugs and their food. With the use of weekly food pantries, Meals on Wheels and other programs seniors can coordinate meal service efforts to offer the best possible option for their needs.

Increased Living Expenses

Increased living expenses is also a reason that these programs are seeing increased enrollment. There are several cities that are seeing living expense increases in rent, cost of daily living needs and various other expenses. The senior community is one of the hardest hit by this expense increase. This is mainly due to their strict budget lifestyles. They are having to live by budgets and by what they have remaining in their retirement funds. This causes a huge issue for any slight increase or major increase in daily living expenses. So, for that reason seniors are turning to meal services in order to help keep costs down while keeping their nutrition in check.

Increased Donations

Some of the increased enrollment in meal services for seniors is in part due to the increased donations these projects are seeing. Some of the meal services projects are seeing huge increases in donations that allow them to reach more people. This means that the food pantries, meal services and church organizations are now reaching out to seniors to offer more assistance. They are opening up their doors, their enrollment lists and taking applications for further meal assistance. These food banks and meal services are also helping those individuals on food stamps and who use food banks to pull together their resources and make ends meet.

The enrollment increase is a bad sign for the economy. However, the pull that communities are putting together to help these seniors is amazing. It has increased community support, allowed more organizations to help when they can and given seniors the chance to breathe easy and not have to choose between much needed lifesaving medication and the food that offers them nutrition. Though the increases are continuing the good thing that comes out of the increases is the benefit these organizations offer seniors when there are few alternatives.