THE CASE FOR MEALS ON WHEELS:
AN EVIDENCE-BASED SOLUTION TO SENIOR HUNGER AND ISOLATION
RELEASED SEPTEMBER 2023
The comprehensive review of 38 studies presented here establishes Meals on Wheels as an evidence-supported, cost-effective solution. The extensive body of research consistently demonstrates the efficacy of Meals on Wheels in reducing health care utilization, preventing nursing home admissions and generating substantial health care cost savings. These remarkable outcomes are attributed to the profound impact of Meals on Wheels on critical aspects of older adults’ well-being, including food security, diet quality, nutritional status, social isolation, loneliness and falls/home safety—factors that significantly contribute to health care costs. By fostering social connections, providing safety checks and delivering nutritious meals, Meals on Wheels supports older adults to maintain their health, independence and ability to age in their own homes and communities.
The noteworthy insights derived from these study findings will support the Meals on Wheels network to effectively communicate their value to funders, donors, policymakers, partnering organizations and volunteers. Moreover, the recommendations outlined in this report offer guidance for program planning, encouraging the expansion and enhancement of services, as well as inspiring future studies. Our commitment is to continually update and add to these findings, conducting further research to explore the transformative impact of Meals on Wheels services on the lives of the older adults we serve.
This report is intended to be disseminated freely. In reproducing any excerpts of this report, please provide a credit that recognizes Meals on Wheels America, such as:Meals on Wheels America. (2023). The Case for Meals on Wheels: An Evidence-Based Solution to Senior Hunger and Isolation. https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/learn-more/research/the-case-for-m…;