MORE THAN A MEAL PRESS CONFERENCE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HEALTH COMMISSIONER AND MEALS ON WHEELS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR COMMENT ON RECENT STUDY DURING JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

Monday, March 30, 2015 - Syracuse, New York

Dr. Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health, Onondaga County Health Department and Mason Kaufman, Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of Syracuse commented today on a recent study and the impact of meal service delivery on the health and well-being of adults 60 years of age and older.

Key findings include:

  • Those receiving and/or requesting Meals on Wheels services are significantly more vulnerable compared to a nationally representative sample of aging Americans.
  • Those who received daily-delivered meals experienced the greatest improvements in health and quality of life indicators over the study period compared to the other two groups (individuals who received frozen, weekly-delivered meals and the control group).
  • Those receiving daily-delivered meals reported greater benefits from their home-delivered meal experience compared to the group receiving frozen meals.
  • Those who lived alone and received daily-delivered meals were more likely to report decreases in worry about being able to remain in home and improvements in feelings of isolation and loneliness over the study period, compared to the other two groups.

Today, Meals on Wheels of Syracuse prepared and delivered 730 meals in the city of Syracuse. More than 18,300 meals during the month of March. According to Mason Kaufman, Executive Director, "We've seen about a 13% increase over the past two years. More meals requires more volunteers. To volunteer, visit Meals.org or call 315.478.5948."

MORE THAN A MEAL - THE IMPACT OF MEAL SERVICE DELIVERY ON THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF ADULTS 60 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER

Meals on Wheels America commissioned Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research to conduct with funding provided by AARP Foundation. The release of this groundbreaking study is being presented during the organization's 13th March for Meals – a nationwide celebration of local Meals on Wheels programs throughout the month of March.

"The Meals on Wheels network faces tough choices forced by limited funding, rising costs, unprecedented demand and need, and increasing for-profit competition," said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. "Thanks to Brown University and AARP Foundation, we have the research-backed evidence that confirms what we've all known for decades anecdotally through personal experience: that Meals on Wheels does in fact deliver so much more than just a meal."

"The findings in this study show the great value of Meals on Wheels America's work as their volunteers provide not only a needed meal but a friendly face and safety check," said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, President of AARP Foundation. "The report reinforces our resolve at AARP Foundation to address the interrelated issues of senior hunger and isolation by pursuing both immediate relief and longer-term solutions."

Meals on Wheels America contracted Dr. Kali Thomas, PhD of Brown University's Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research, to design and execute the 15-week More Than a Meal pilot study involving more than 600 senior participants to compare the experience and health outcomes realized by older adults who receive three different levels of service: daily traditional meal delivery, once-weekly frozen delivery and individuals on a waiting list for meals.

"As a former Meals on Wheels volunteer and the granddaughter of a recipient, I have witnessed firsthand the valuable benefits this service provides to those fortunate enough to receive it," said Kali Thomas, PhD, Principal Investigator, Brown University. "We structured this study as a randomized control, blinded study and what we found in the data is significant evidence that seniors derive several benefits beyond nutrition alone from this service."

 MASON KAUFMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEALS ON WHEELS OF SYRACUSE AND DR. INDU GUPTA, MD, MPH, COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH, ONONDAGA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

MASON KAUFMAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MEALS ON WHEELS OF SYRACUSE AND DR. INDU GUPTA, MD, MPH, COMMISSIONER OF HEALTH, ONONDAGA COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT