As we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize that this is not going to be a short sprint but rather a marathon. Like any skilled marathoner will tell you, it is not about speed or a fast start, but rather, pacing is key.
At the onset of the stay-at-home order in Minnesota, we found that many older adults were doing well, as they had prepared for this eventuality of sheltering in place like other states. The story has changed after entering the second month of the stay-at-home order. Personal stockpiles are now running low, freezer space is becoming abundant and folks are beginning to make return calls to home-delivered meal providers.
I want to assure everyone that the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) has prepared for this to occur, and we have been working with home-delivered meal providers in Southwest Minnesota. In our frequent meetings, we discuss how current meal production and delivery are going and look to the future to find areas of improvement. (A previously identified need was fulfilled by the wonderful transit providers in our area who stepped up to assist with meal deliveries.)
The home-delivered meal providers who MNRAAA works with under the Older Americans Act, Prairie 5 and Lutheran Social Services, have been reporting an average increase of 35% in meals over the past month and they are ready to provide more! In 2019, roughly 390,000 meals were provided to older adults throughout Southwest Minnesota. The first-quarter numbers for 2020 show a slight increase, and preliminary numbers for April indicate a further growth that we expect to continue into May and June. As mentioned earlier, this growth is something that we have been preparing for and are ready to assist with as needed. MNRAAA will be here to serve our family, friends and neighbors to the finish line and beyond.
If you or someone you know may benefit from home-delivered meals, please contact the Senior LinkAge Line® at 1-800-333-2433 to find a home-delivered meal provider in your area.
Jason W. Swanson, HSE