Meals On Wheels: VNA Helps Seniors to Remain At Home

One in six Dallas County seniors struggles with hunger and many seniors in Dallas County are homebound, as nearly 25,000 households headed by seniors have no access to a vehicle. Currently, 9% of seniors in Dallas County live below the poverty line, meaning 20,000 of those seniors may not know where their next meal is coming from and must choose between feeding themselves or paying bills.

VNA Meals on Wheels clients are the hidden hungry—homebound, aging and unable to access resources like food pantries and grocery stores. VNA’s approach to deliver more than just a meal, but also a connection to the outside world, creates a safety net reducing medical costs. Meals on Wheels keeps seniors healthy and provides added support allowing them to stay at home living a more fully nourished life.

VNA helps these seniors stay in their own homes—where they want to be—which is less costly than alternatives like nursing homes. In addition, research results underscore the tremendous impact Meals on Wheels has in improving health outcomes and keeping seniors safe at home. PwC recently completed a pro bono research analysis. Using analytics coupled with PwC’s Bodylogical model, research highlights include the following:

  • Meals on Wheels clients experience individual health care cost savings of $2,218 per client as compared to seniors who do not receive service;
  • Clients reported a 25% reduction in feelings of isolation and loneliness as compared to those not receiving meals — research shows loneliness is associated with a 44% increased risk of future dementia;
  • In total, Meals on Wheels clients had an estimated 24 fewer heart attacks, 12 fewer hospitalizations due to congestive heart failure, and 12 fewer strokes annually as compared to seniors not receiving meal service

At 5am each weekday, 4,500 individual meals are specially prepared and packed in VNA’s Haggerty Kitchen, then delivered to 22 sites in Dallas County by 10am. Dedicated drivers, half of whom are volunteers, pick up and deliver to 12-15 seniors on their routes 260 days per year. Shelf stable meals are provided for holidays and days with inclement weather when delivery may not be possible.

There are government and charitable payor sources for VNA Meals on Wheels recipients for those who qualify. Clients may choose to purchase meals for $5.50 per meal and can begin service within two business days of enrollment.

Eligibility for Government and Charitable Funding:
In order to qualify for funded VNA Meals on Wheels, you must:

  • be over the age of 60 or disabled,
  • be unable to drive or leave your home without assistance,
  • have limited financial resources, and
  • live in Dallas County.

Since 1934, VNA has responded to the Dallas area’s evolving community home health needs with innovative client and patient services. VNA nurses, therapists, chaplains, social workers, volunteers and other skilled professionals provide the highest quality and compassionate health care in the home across North Texas, especially for those with no place to turn and no means to pay. VNA ensures the homebound, elderly and disabled are cared for expertly and with compassion.

Today, VNA’s programs include Meals on Wheels in Dallas County, VNA Hospice Care and Private Care, and the first Medicare-sponsored in-home palliative care program, VNA Care Choices, in 13 North Texas counties.