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Contact: Logan Goulette
Communications Manager
Meals On Wheels Association of America


For Immediate Release:

New Research Shows Benefit of Home-Delivered Meals

Alexandria, VA, December 4, 2012 - Newly released research from Brown University demonstrates the positive impact of increased spending on home-delivered meals programs for older adults. The study compared state-level expenditures on Older Americans Act (OAA) programs with the population of "low-care" seniors in nursing homes (i.e., residents of nursing homes that might not need the suite of services that a nursing home provides). According to the analysis from a decade of spending and nursing home resident data, states that invest more on home-delivered meals to seniors have lower rates of "low-care" seniors in nursing homes.

Major findings from the Brown study include:

  • Home-delivered meals emerged as the most significant factor among OAA services that affected state-to-state differences in low-care nursing home population. Home-delivered meals account for the bulk of OAA spending.

  • For every $25 per year per older adult above the national average that states spend on home-delivered meals, they could reduce their percentage of low-care nursing home residents compared to the national average by 1 percentage point.

The Brown study included state spending on OAA programs and information from each state between 2000 and 2009 as well as a variety of public health and nursing home data sources compiled by Brown University's Shaping Long-Term Care in America Project. In all, 16,030 nursing homes were included in the research.

"There are still many nursing home residents who have the functional capacity to live in a less restrictive environment," wrote Brown University gerontology researchers Kali Thomas and Vincent Mor in an article published November, 2012 in the journal Health Services Research. "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."

"So many of our seniors value their independence but still need some assistance," commented Larry J. Tomayko, interim CEO with the Meals On Wheels Association of America. "At a time when federal and state budgets are looking for ways to cut costs, the impact of an investment in home-delivered meal programs such as Meals On Wheels can reap tremendous benefits, for both the seniors that receive them, and the communities that often bear the costs of supporting our seniors."

Previous studies have suggested that anywhere from 5 to 30 percent of nursing home residents have low-care needs and could perhaps be better served in the community.

More information on the study is available here.

About Meals On Wheels Association of America
The Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) is the only national organization and network dedicated solely to ending senior hunger in America. MOWAA is the oldest and largest organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 states as well as the U.S. territories. MOWAA’s vision is to end senior hunger by 2020. To obtain more information about MOWAA or to locate a local Meals On Wheels program, visit the MOWAA website at

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