On the heels of the U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory declaring loneliness and social isolation an epidemic, Meals on Wheels America and Home Instead, Inc., an Honor Company, today announced a new partnership designed to raise awareness, funding, and volunteers to address the needs of our aging neighbors and curb this health crisis.
The highest rates of social isolation are found among older adults, putting this population at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease and even death, according to several studies. In fact, research shows that increased hospital and nursing facility costs associated with social isolation among older adults leads to $6.7 billion in excess Medicare each year.
The Surgeon General’s advisory calls on all sectors of society to act now to advance social connection. As organizations dedicated to caring for older adults, Home Instead and Meals on Wheels America are urging Americans to join the effort to end loneliness among this population and strengthen social connection throughout the community. The initiative supports several pillars outlined in the Surgeon General’s national strategy.
“Fostering a sense of connection for older adults is the heart of our business,” said Seth Sternberg, Honor co-founder and CEO. “Home Instead franchise owners and Care Professionals live this commitment every day. This partnership enables us to extend that commitment through the community programs and volunteers empowered by Meals on Wheels America.”
To kick off the national partnership, Home Instead is matching all donations to Meals on Wheels America made between May 15 and 19, 2023, donating $2 for every $1 donated, up to a $50,000 match. The company also is committing an additional $90,000 to underwrite an inaugural volunteer award that recognizes the tremendous contributions of the individuals who bring the mission to life. The funding will support the local efforts of three winning volunteers’ Meals on Wheels organizations. In addition to national initiatives, many members of the Home Instead franchise network will support local Meals on Wheels programs across America through volunteering and other efforts.
“We understand the issue of social isolation all too well because, for many recipients, the volunteer delivering the meals might be the only human contact they have all day,” said Ellie Hollander, president and CEO at Meals on Wheels America. “We applaud Home Instead for their dedication to building community relationships that help older adults thrive.”
Whether through Meals on Wheels volunteers delivering nutritious meals, friendly visits, and safety checks or Home Instead Care Pros delivering personalized care and companionship, both organizations see the transformative impact these connections have on the well-being and independence of aging adults. Volunteering is also a great way for individuals to strengthen their own sense of connection and purpose.
The partnership supports Meals on Wheels America’s Power of a Knock™ campaign, which is designed to educate and engage the public in the transformation that occurs when a Meals on Wheels volunteer knocks on the door of a homebound older adult’s home, changing their life through companionship. A knock at the door might not seem like a big deal to many. But to a homebound aging adult served by Meals on Wheels, it brings hope. It brings health. It brings the nutrition and connection that will make their day. For more information, head to https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/the-power-of-a-knock.
ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. Powered by a dedicated volunteer workforce, this network delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.