Meals for a Month to augment senior food services at The J

It’s a fact; people are living longer, and in much better health. The question is, are social services keeping up with longer lifespans?

The J is addressing that question, rolling out a new program that will help seniors eat nutritiously and in their homes.

Senior Adult Director Diane Sadle applied for and received a $2,800 grant from Meals on Wheels America to fund a pilot program, called Meals for a Month, which began on January 1. The new program offers clients a hot, home-delivered, mid-day meal (salad, entrée, vegetable, bread and dessert) five days a week for four weeks. After that time, clients’ needs are assessed to determine if they still require services.

While the Meals on Wheels (MOW) program already coordinated by Sadle goes a long way toward reducing senior hunger and isolation while allowing seniors to live safely in their homes, she said Meals for a Month will address an unmet need in the system.

“We have had inquiries from clients above the age of 60 in need of home-delivered meals for just an interim period,” she said. “Perhaps they were recently released from the hospital or are receiving rehab care in a facility and need kosher meals. Some are awaiting approval of their MOW application or do not meet Metro Louisville’s Nutrition Program criteria. We feel these individuals are overlooked and have a critical need for nutritional support.”

Sadle uses a variety of evaluation tools to measure clients’ daily living activities and ability to care for themselves to determine their nutritional risk. Continued assistance can be secured through formal enrollment in the MOW program (for those who qualify), a Meals for a Month extension and/or referrals to local food pantries or congregate lunch programs. The need for services is determined on a case-by case basis.

All Meals on Wheels America programs, including Meals for a Month, are donation-based. Recipients typically contribute $3 per meal (whether at The J or home delivered), but the amount is based on what they can afford.

Seniors do not have to be Jewish to take advantage of the monthly meal program. Metro Louisville’s Nutrition Program, local hospitals, rehab centers, synagogues, churches and religious leaders have been asked to provide referrals for individuals over age 60 in need of this new service.

For further information about the J’s senior nutrition services, contact Diane Sadle, 502-238-2749.

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