Lots of older people, especially if living alone, may find themselves eating less or not really up to getting meals. As we get older, often we simply don’t get hungry, and substitute a good meal with a dish of cereal or maybe some toast and tea.

For these folks, Meals on Wheels can literally be a lifesaver. The menus are varied and the food is delicious – think braised pork and gravy, ham, chicken Florentine, and more. The meals are so generous in their proportions, they can provide a meal and a little snack later.

You may qualify for Meals on Wheels if you are 60 or older, primarily homebound or can only get out with difficulty, unable to regularly prepare nutritious meals, and are able to accept meals during the delivery time frame and agree to an in-home nutritional assessment. Meals are delivered either frozen or warm; it’s up to the customer.

The food, which is approved by a Maine-registered dietitian, is prepared in USDA inspected kitchens through a local Maine company. Meals are freshly prepared and ready to eat when convenient for participants.

Meals include a protein main dish, a side dish and a vegetable. The meals are also served with a roll and a dessert. Clients can also receive one quart of milk per week. There are options for dietary concerns and there is no income eligibility requirement for Meals on Wheels. Southern Maine Agency on Aging recommends a $3.50 per meal donation in order to keep the program going. However, donations of all sizes are welcome and no one will ever be turned away if unable to contribute at the selected rate.

If you usually prepare your own meals but have a short-term need (just got home from the hospital?) Meals on Wheels can really help. After surgery or a hospital stay, it sometimes takes a few days to get into the routine of meal preparation. It’s reassuring and convenient to have your meals all prepared and delivered!

If you do not qualify for Meals on Wheels, but are interested in home-delivered meals options, Simply Delivered meals are available. You will receive up to seven meals a week, delivered on a day chosen by you. Meals are delivered between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and are frozen. They require no additional preparation and can be heated in your microwave.

Simply Delivered meals are available for the cost of $5 per meal, which includes delivery. Meals are purchased in advance, using convenient forms of payment: credit/debit card, cash, or SNAP/food stamps.

One-hundred percent of the proceeds from a Simply Delivered meal purchase supports the Meals on Wheels program at Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

Call 800-427-7411 for more information on either Meals on Wheels or Simply Delivered. Sample menus are available online at the SMAA website, www.smaaa.org.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at [email protected], or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.

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