Abby, age 78, has been living on a fixed income of social security benefits since her husband passed away last year after congestive heart failure. While Abby knows the importance of eating well, she often stretches her food budget by relying on canned soups and low-cost pastas. While the low-cost ingredients she purchases keep her feeling full, they are lacking the vitamins and nutrients found in fresh fruits and veggies. However, with the high cost of produce in her area, Abby rarely ventures into the produce section of her market to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.
However, seniors like Abby may find that their community is taking strides to make fresh produce an accessible food item for low-income seniors. Recently, the Essex County Department of Health & Senior Services in New York state teamed with a local farmer’s market to provide senior vouchers. The program provides $20 worth of farmer’s market vouchers for qualifying seniors and can be spent on local, fresh foods. In other jurisdictions, similar programs are also becoming available through food bank agencies and in California, State-wide emergency food assistance programs, like California FoodLink which work with local food banks to offer free farmer’s market-style events for low-income individuals.
Home Care Software Can Help Keep Seniors Eating Well
With the issue of availability of produce due to income restrictions at hand, homecare agencies can play a vital role in ensuring that seniors eat a balanced diet. Meal plans and reminders kept in an agency’s homecare software or homecare system can help home care aides keep seniors on track with enough food intake, while also tracking appropriate food intake. For seniors who have difficulty or disinterest in preparing food, meal preparation tasks in homecare software or homecare systems can ensure that homecare workers leave seniors with a fridge stocked with easy-to-reheat meals.
Integrating fresh foods can also be a goal of homecare aides. Homecare administrators may consider providing information on fresh food resources to their clients via local resources, and noting any special events for fresh food distribution in homecare software or homecare systems as a fun outing for seniors and their caregivers. In-home caregivers can then help seniors properly store and prepare fresh foods to keep well and be easily consumed by washing fruits and vegetables, drying and storing in air tight containers.
Tasks in homecare software or homecare systems, like ClearCare, can even include notes about fresh snacks available for seniors to eat in their home. For instance the task “Serve Lunch” may include a note within an agency’s homecare systems to “serve fresh carrot sticks,” helping the caregiver encourage consumption of fresh, nutrient-rich produce.
With the assistance of fresh food programs, like famer’s market vouchers, and the guidance of a in home caregiver using a robust homecare software or home care systems, such as ClearCare, seniors can keep eating well – even on tight budget.