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DHS News June 2013    

AAA Home-Delivered Meals Plan Reorganizes 

The Area Agency on Aging will be making changes to its home-delivered meal (HDM) program this summer as a direct result of a recent decision by Lutheran Services Society to withdraw as a service provider.  Older adults will continue to receive five meals a week, but the program will reorganize the providers, and employ more efficient equipment and new technology.

Faced with the urgent need to have a new system in place by July 1 to deliver meals to over 700 homebound older adults across the county, AAA management approached four current home-delivered meal providers--- Eastern Area Adult Services, Hill House, Lifespan and Northern Area Multi Service Center.  The four providers worked together to create a collaborative with each responsible for the HDM program in one of four regions of the county.  At the same time, they worked with AAA staff to research and implement best practices and new opportunities to create a more efficient and sustainable system. 

The new HDM system will deliver meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and use a combination of paid personnel and volunteers, new delivery vehicles, higher-capacity kitchens and routing software.  On the three delivery days, older adults will receive a hot meal.  However, on Mondays and Wednesdays—they will also receive a prepared meal that can be reheated the next day.  This model for delivering five meals a week has been used successfully by other providers. “Also, in the new model, because providers are responsible for a region, there will be greater use of staff,” Mildred said. “Many agencies are having difficulty attracting volunteers on a structured, stable schedule.”

The HDM system delivers to homebound seniors – people age 60 and up – who for various reasons cannot get to the grocery store or safely prepare meals.  Staff or volunteers delivering meals also use the opportunity to “check-in” on participants. In the new system, participants in need of daily contact will receive a reassurance phone call on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Agency staff will report back to AAA if they encounter a situation that requires intervention or additional support.

“All participants affected by the program changes are being notified by phone calls and letters”, said Joe Barker, AAA Bureau Chief who is responsible for the home-delivered meals program.  AAA will reevaluate the system on an ongoing basis to search for new efficiencies in the way we provide service to our participants.

For more information on the program, call the SeniorLine, at 412.350.5460.

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