Research & Practice

Providing Medically Tailored Meals to Older Adults with Sound Generations’ Meals on Wheels

Sound Generations works to address the unique needs of the aging community in King County, Washington, by connecting older adults to community resources and providing food security, transportation, health and wellness, and assistance services. The organization’s Meals on Wheels (MOW) service targets the issue of food insecurity by delivering nutritious meals to residents aged 60 or older on a weekly basis. While MOW’s current meals cater to individuals with some healthcare/lifestyle needs (e.g., low saturated fat, cholesterol, and/or sodium; vegetarian, vegan, kosher), additional options are warranted to further expand the menu, target additional needs, and increase food palatability. This project aimed to provide Sound Generations with recommendations for their MOW program, including integrating Medically Tailored Meal (MTM) interventions. An MTM literature review using the Food is Medicine (FIM) framework showed that MTMs directly improve health outcomes, including reduced hospitalizations and emergency visits, a decline in healthcare expenses, improved medication compliance, and more. Client survey calls indicated the need for more MOW offerings for those with special dietary needs (e.g., low sodium, kosher, soft foods). Recommendations include continuing to work with MOW vendor Airline Catering to improve the meals and update them to be MTMs. Additional funding and community partnerships would also enable Sound Generations to provide more fresh produce for clients and to hire an additional dietitian to guide their MOW program.

Project Type(s): MPH Practicum, PH Concentration Poster

Author(s): Joanne Lum

Program(s): Master of Public Health, RDN Training

Year: 2023