Home for the holidays: Meals programs in the new normal
As the holiday season begins, some families may be looking forward to celebrating in the same physical space for the first time in two years as COVID-19 infection rates previously prevented many from gathering under the same roof. Through the USAging (formerly known as the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging) and Eldercare Locator’s annual Home for the Holidays campaign, the aging nonprofits look to highlight the excellent work of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) as many across the nation changed the way they delivered services to overcome challenges stemming from COVID-19, including Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA). Home for the Holidays also encourages individuals to use the holiday season as an opportunity to discuss with older loved ones that vital services can improve daily living.
Serving as the AAA for Philadelphia County, PCA was one of more than 600 AAAs who had to rethink the way community and home-based supports were delivered in the “new normal.” This included daily lunches served through 27 PCA-funded senior centers. While the senior centers had previously served hot lunches on weekdays in a large group setting prior to the pandemic, the onset of COVID-19 halted congregate meals and PCA quickly pivoted to Grab & Go meals. The Grab & Go model allows for eligible individuals to pick up meals at PCA-funded sites without even entering the building.
While senior centers began to re-open to participants throughout the city in a limited capacity last summer, the Grab & Go program continues to provide meals for individuals over age 60 or married to someone over 60. Depending on availability at each senior center, eligible individuals may have the option of receiving either cold and/or frozen meals.
PCA encourages all relatives and friends of over age 60 individuals to talk with them about their nutritional needs, this holiday season. Grab & Go meals are available to all eligible older adults for supplemental nutrition and are packaged to meet one-third of the USDA’s recommended daily nutritional needs.
For additional information on how senior centers and PCA are meeting the nutritional needs of older adults, call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040. Grab & Go meal pick-up can be arranged by contacting your nearest senior center.