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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Research: Meals on Wheels benefits people with dementia living at home

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Wednesday, April 3, 2024   

Meals on Wheels programs could be a powerful tool for addressing the needs of people living with dementia, according to a study from Ohio State University researchers.

The community-based program delivers weekly meals to food-insecure seniors.

Lisa Juckett, assistant professor of occupational therapy at Ohio State University, conducted interviews with caregivers, people living with dementia, and the staff of LifeCare Alliance, the largest Meals on Wheels provider in the state. She said the findings revealed delivery drivers are often a critical source of social interaction and an "extra set of eyes" on homebound individuals.

"That Meals on Wheels driver is then able to perform very brief but important wellness checks and safety checks," Juckett explained. "To make sure that meal is actually being delivered, the door is being answered."

According to Meals on Wheels America, last year more than 90,000 Ohio seniors received over eight million home-delivered meals through the program. More than 80% of people with dementia in the U.S. live at home, and an estimated 60% are unable to eat or prepare food on their own.

States rely on a combination of federal funding, private donations and fundraising agencies to keep local Meals on Wheels programs operating. Juckett added the findings come on the heels of Congress deciding to cut funding for the Older Americans Act, which allocates money to Meals on Wheels programs nationwide.

"Meals on Wheels programs are always on the chopping block, when it comes to federal budgets being adjusted every year," Juckett pointed out. "We need more advocacy efforts to validate or justify the importance of these programs."

According to the group Alzheimer's disease International, more than 55 million people around the world live with dementia, a number expected to double over the next two decades.


Disclosure: Ohio State University contributes to our fund for reporting on Arts and Culture, Environment, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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