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Home Delivered Meals to Older Adults: A Critical Review of the Literature

Gualtieri, Marie, C., MA; Donley, Amy, M., PhD; Wright, James, D., PhD; Vega, Sara, Strickhouser, PhD

doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000665
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The United States is witnessing a growing aging population stemming in part from medical advancements allowing people to live decades longer than previous generations. Simultaneously, food insecurity among older adults has increased, and is projected to get worse as the Baby Boomer generation ages. This review focuses on an assistance program for older adults: home-delivered meals. Specifically, we focus on the effects of Meals on Wheels (MOW) on the physical and emotional well-being of older adults, and the wide variety of procedural and operational issues that various MOW programs around the country experience. Findings from the literature highlight the positive outcomes these programs have on their clients. Although there have been recent budget cut threats from the federal government, evidence suggests that more funding should be allocated so these programs can provide services to everyone in need, and even expand what they are able to offer to older adults.

Marie C. Gualtieri, MA, is a Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Amy M. Donley, PhD, is an Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

James D. Wright, PhD, is Provost's Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida.

Sara Strickhouser Vega, PhD, is Instructor, Department of Sociology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Address for correspondence: Marie C. Gualtieri, MA, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, 10 Current Drive, Suite 334, Raleigh, NC 27695 (mcgualt2@ncsu.edu).

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