There are many ways to keep yourself healthy as you grow older, and eating a nutritious diet is one of them. However, 18% of seniors in Arkansas are not receiving the balanced diet required to keep themselves healthy, independent, and physically functional.
Use this guide to learn more about Meals on Wheels and who qualifies for Meals on Wheels in Arkansas
What is Meals on Wheels?
Meals on Wheels America is a social program that focuses on caring for seniors whose diminished mobility might make it a little more difficult to get to the grocery store to shop for food, prepare a meal, or participate in social activities with other people.
Since 1954, Meals on Wheels has been serving America’s seniors by delivering nutritionally balanced meals to their homes while simultaneously performing health and safety checks around the house.
There are also group settings and community programs available to seniors who are able to attend where you can socialize while you enjoy a healthy meal with a group. Meals on Wheels understands that a meal is not just about food. It is about community and connection.
Who uses Meals on Wheels?
Thanks to millions of volunteers, 225 million meals are delivered annually to 2.4 million seniors across America! Out of those 2.4 million, 59% are 75 years of age or older, and 59% report they live alone.
It is important to remember Meals on Wheels assists with your nutritional needs as well as your social and safety needs. Of the 2.4 million seniors who use Meals on Wheels, 90% report the program helps them feel more secure.
Do you qualify?
There are many ways to qualify for Meals on Wheels services. The program is need-based and has no income restrictions.
You qualify to receive meals if you are 60 or older and are:
- Unable to cook or go to the grocery store on your own
- Disabled and/or
- A dependent of a senior aged 60 or older
If you have any questions or concerns about your eligibility, you can call your local Area Agency on Aging. If you are unsure which agency serves your county, you can find out by referencing this resource guide, which is broken down by county and includes contact information for each agency. Or you can call CareLink, Central Arkansas’s Area Agency on Aging at (501) 372-5300 or toll-free at (800) 482-6359 and they’ll get the information for you.
What happens during a Meals on Wheels visit?
Each visit from Meals on Wheels includes a healthy, freshly-cooked meal that has meets the dietary guidelines that have been set by the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program, as well as a safety check of your home. If you have special dietary needs, diabetic and vegetarian meals are available.
Each safety check follows an inspection checklist specially designed for the Meals on Wheels program in order to keep seniors who live independently safe in their homes. During delivery, a Meals on Wheels volunteer will check your home’s exterior for accessibility, safe lighting, secure locks and doorknobs, and safety precautions, such as porch handrails.
Should you invite your volunteer inside, they can check your home’s smoke detectors and light switches, check on your appliances for safety and make sure your home is easy for you to move around and maneuver inside. The volunteer or staff member will also take the opportunity to enjoy a little socialization with you.
Is there a Meals on Wheels near me?
There are many Meals on Wheels locations across Arkansas. CareLink prepares 900 meals per day, and thanks to a team of more than 250 volunteers, delivers meals to homes in Little Rock, Maumelle, and North Little Rock. CareLink also partners with senior centers within a six-county region to provide meals outside of the metropolitan area.
If you live outside of the metropolitan area and want to check to see if your address qualifies for home delivery, you can check by finding your local program.
There are also many group-setting meal locations around our state if you enjoy socializing and are able to leave your home. Many of them are located at local senior centers, so you may already be familiar with the location.
For more information
Our mission is to provide resources for homebound older people, active older people, and family caregivers in Central Arkansas. If you or someone you know is a homebound older person looking for the services to stay home, an active older person who wants to stay healthy and get involved in the community, or a family caregiver who needs help locating available services for seniors, contact us today!
For more information about CareLink’s mission of connecting older people and their families with resources, like Meals on Wheels, to meet the opportunities and challenges of aging, visit our website, or call us at (501) 372-5300 or toll-free (800) 482-6359.