OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (September 16, 2020)—Today the WellSky Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving quality of life for vulnerable populations, announced it has donated $50,000 to Meals on Wheels America, a national leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the United States that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger.
Through this donation, Meals on Wheels America will collaborate with the WellSky Foundation to conduct a pilot research project designed to assist health care organizations in supporting older adults, particularly those transitioning from acute care settings and those facing multiple chronic health conditions. This project will explore how partnerships between health care organizations and local Meals on Wheels programs can improve senior health outcomes. This new effort will expand upon earlier efforts by Meals on Wheels America to develop and scale a technology-based process for reporting and addressing changes in the physical or mental condition of people who receive home-delivered meals.
“Meals on Wheels programs provide the nutritious food, vital services and critical community connections that enable seniors to live safely and independently in their own homes. Amid the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of our work has become more evident than ever before, as has the need for cross-sector collaboration to expand our capacity and reach to keep more of our nation’s seniors healthy and socially connected,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “The insights we hope to gain by partnering with the WellSky Foundation in this pilot project will help us to identify additional opportunities to facilitate senior wellness during this public health emergency and beyond.”
Meals on Wheels America and the WellSky Foundation are aligned in their efforts to better understand and address key social determinants of health (SDoH)—including food insecurity and social isolation—to support the overall wellbeing of people in need, particularly older adults. This latest collaboration reflects the WellSky Foundation’s ongoing commitment to helping more seniors safely remain in their homes, regardless of their individual circumstances.
“Meals on Wheels programs’ work is so necessary, and lives depend on them. During this time of incredible uncertainty, seniors who rely on meal delivery need stability and peace of mind that they will continue to receive nutritious food, and Meals on Wheels is making that happen and more,” said Andrea Morgan, executive director of the WellSky Foundation. “With Meals on Wheels America’s facilitation, local programs’ community networks, and the WellSky Foundation’s resources, we’re looking at ways we can work together to make an even greater positive impact on seniors’ health and help them maintain and improve their quality of life.”
According to data compiled by Meals on Wheels America in 2019, 1 in 5 Americans is age 60 years or older, and nearly 9.5 million seniors are threatened by hunger. Factors such as limited mobility, declining health, and financial strains make seniors especially vulnerable to hunger. Now, with the added and far-reaching pressures of COVID-19, many seniors need more support than ever before. At the same time, Meals on Wheels programs and their millions of staff and volunteers across the country are facing new risks and increasing demand for services amid the pandemic. Recognizing these pressures, Meals on Wheels America and the WellSky Foundation will also gather new health outcomes data through this upcoming pilot research project to help care providers be more informed during the current crisis and into the future.
“We know that the pandemic has exposed preexisting socioeconomic and health inequities faced by communities across the U.S., especially older adults. These challenges are complex and thus demand multifaceted solutions,” said Bill Miller, CEO of WellSky, the global health and community care technology company that established the WellSky Foundation. “WellSky is committed to powering measurable change for seniors in a variety of ways. Beyond technology alone, we’re working with Meals on Wheels America to unlock new ways to collaborate and achieve better outcomes.”
Visit wellskyfoundation.org for more information.