Meals on Wheels – Frederick County, Maryland – Needs Your Donnations.

Meals delivered to older adults help them avoid costly and unnecessary
nursing home care, according to a new study. But it costs money which Friend of Meals on
Wheels
is trying to raise.

Researchers from Brown University found states that invest in these programs
under the Older Americans Act are successful in helping seniors remain in their
homes.

"Despite efforts to re-balance long-term care, there are still many
nursing home residents who have the functional capacity to live in a less
restrictive environment," wrote study authors Kali Thomas and Vincent Mor,
both gerontology researchers. "States that have invested in their
community-based service networks, particularly home-delivered meals, have
proportionally fewer of these people than do those states that have not."

After analyzing spending and data on more than 16,000 nursing homes between
2000 and 2009, the researchers found the proportion of nursing home residents
who did not require most of the services of their facility, or low-care
residents, fell from about 18 percent to less than 13 percent.

After taking into account state spending on Medicaid-sponsored home and
community-based services and other long-term care market factors, the
researchers found home-based meals were the only statistically significant
factor among Older Americans Act programs that influenced differences in the
number of low-care nursing home residents.

State to state, however, the percentage of low-care nursing home residents
varies significantly since funding for programs that provide home-delivered
meals to seniors also differs. The researchers calculated states could reduce
their percentage of low-care nursing home residents compared to the national
average by one point for every $25 per year per senior above the national
average they spend on these programs.

The study is published in Health Services Research.

The study authors said drivers who deliver meals are able to observe and
monitor the environment in which the seniors are living. They also report when
seniors do not respond to a delivery, which serves as an additional safety
measure.

Home-delivered meals served more than 868,000 seniors in fiscal 2010 and
account for the majority of Older Americans Act spending, the researchers
noted. Skilled nursing care, they added, also played a role in keeping older
people out of nursing homes.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services provides more information on the Older
Americans Act
.

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