Articles and Information from GA Foods

Medicare - Which Plan Should You Choose?

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Nov 16, 2017 11:00:00 AM

medicare-coverage.jpg

Medicare open enrollment is happening right now, so it's time to enroll in a Medicare plan by going to the Medicare.gov website. Open enrollment closes on December 7, and new Medicare coverage begins on January 1, 2018. 

Understanding Your Medicare Options: Medicare Advantage 

The important thing to keep in mind is that Medicare Advantage covers all Medicare services, including hospital inpatient and outpatient care. Most plans cover prescription drugs as well. These plans may also include additional benefits, such as home-delivered meals, vision, hearing, dental, and wellness, that original Medicare does not.

Medicare Advantage goes by many different names - you may have heard it called Medicare Part C or MA plans ("MA" stands for Medicare Advantage).

Millions are Signing Up! 

Medicare currently has 44 million beneficiaries (about 15% of the current United States population). That number is expected to grow to 79 million (nearly double the current number) by 2030, according to a recent AARP report

So, how does Medicare Advantage work?  Medicare Advantage combines hospital costs and doctor and outpatient care all in one plan. It can also include a Part D for presciption drug coverage.

The original Medicare plan includes Medicare Part A (inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care) and Medicare Part B (outpatient care, doctors' services, and preventive services). Medicare supplemental insurance is only possible with a regular Medicare plan, not with Medicare Advantage plans. 

The original Medicare plan (Parts A and B) is a fee-for-service plan administered directly through the federal government. That's why you might have heard regular Medicare called "single payer" since you pay your deductible and coinsurance to just one other party. 

Medicare Advantage Could Mean Lower Copays, Greater Choice, and More Covered Services 

Medicare Advantage plans are sold by private insurance companies that are dedicated to providing quality Medicare services at competitive rates. Most Medicare Advantage plans are HMO (health maintenance organization) or PPO (preferred provider organization). 

For extra cost savings, you might want to explore a third kind of Medicare Advantage plan: private fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plans. Lower deductibles and an affordable fixed co-pay are common benefits to signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Aside from potentially lower deductibles and co-pays, you might also benefit from lower out-of-pocket maximums with a Medicare Advantage plan, which means that your plan could cover 100% of your medical expenses once that yearly maximum is met. 

Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan is another option to explore if you take prescription medications and are concerned with affordability or a gap in coverage. 

With some Medicare Advantage plans you choose a primary care doctor. In others, you can go to any Medicare-eligible provider that accepts the plan's terms and payment rates. 

To find which plan works best for you, visit the  Medicare plan finder tool on Medicare.gov or you can also call 1-800-MEDICARE. Have the information on your Medicare card ready. 

Medicare Advantage Must Cover Medicare Services 

The great thing about Medicare Advantage plans is that they must cover all of the essential services that your original Medicare (Parts A and B) cover. This means that the following should be covered by Medicare Advantage: hospital inpatient, hospital outpatient, managed care, skilled nursing facility, home health, physician, and specialist (with referral). 

Many people like the added benefits that a Medicare Advantage plan offers. One benefit that is gaining popularity is a home-delivered meal benefit after a hospital stay. These meals can help your recovery, since preparing meals may be difficult after a hospitalization.

If you're looking to have all of your essential Medicare services covered, gain even more services that Medicare might not cover, and go through a private PPO for your Medicare needs, then you might want to check out a Medicare Advantage plan. Nearly ten million Americans have already done so.

Remember, open enrollment ends December 7!

Download eBook: 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing  a Home-Delivered Meals Provider 

Read More

Topics: Medicare, Healthcare Research, Senior Health Plans, Senior Nutrition

What are the Nutrition Strategies for Baby Boomers and Wellness?

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Aug 30, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the fourth article in a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read more articles about Baby Boomers.

Live-Well.jpg

Often, the terms "health" and "wellness" are used interchangeably. Do these terms mean different things? As a matter of fact, they do. Whereas most of us have a pretty good grasp of what it means to be healthy or fit, wellness is a bit more elusive and hard to pin down. How do you know you've achieved it? 

The Difference Between Health and Wellness 

To start from the beginning, the term "health" means that your body is free from chronic diseases like diabetes or arthritis.

The term "wellness," however, sets a much higher bar. Wellness means that you've found balance between your physical, emotional, and social needs. Some experts also include occupational or lifestyle balance and spiritual fulfillment under the umbrella of wellness.

Select Functional Foods that Help in Multiple Ways 

Baby boomers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to optimizing their health. Having good health is a baseline for creating a foundation of wellness or well-being throughout the different areas of your life.

Fortunately, many of the health issues that baby boomers might face - like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and joint pain - can be improved with the right nutrition and fitness regimen. Functional foods can be one of your main allies in promoting a lifetime of health and wellness. For example, the antioxidant known as lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease.

In learning more information about functional foods, you'll quickly see that one food can have multiple health benefits to different parts of the body. For instance, fatty fish like salmon have the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which help to reduce your triglyceride levels, lower your chance of coronary heart disease, improve your mood, and help sharpen your memory. 

Oatmeal and Fiber for Better Cholesterol 

Oats and oatmeal are beneficial foods for reducing your total cholesterol numbers, and particularly lowering your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol levels. Eating oatmeal a few times a month could also help lower your blood pressure. Considering the fact that the CDC says one in three adults has high blood pressure, adding oatmeal to your diet may reduce your risk. 

Getting your blood pressure under control is very important for seniors because doing so takes stress off the heart and blood vessels, and improves circulation. Lower blood pressure levels could also translate into improved circulation, allowing for more nutrients from these wonderful foods to be delivered to your brain. The soluble fiber in oatmeal known as beta glucan, though, directly benefits your cholesterol and overall heart health. 

You can get these same benefits from other oat products, including: granola bars, whole oat bread, and oat flour that you can put in various foods. Oats may have special benefits for baby boomers since research shows oats could help older individuals fight infection, control their blood sugar levels, and provide significant heart benefits to postmenopausal women. 

Leafy Green Vegetables Boost Your Immune System 

Your doctor was right. Healthy foods like leafy green vegetables - especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower - boost your immune system and aid your cells in the fight against cancer. That might sound like an impressive claim, but the carotenoids in carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and dark leafy green vegetables also block carcinogens and keep them from harming your body's healthy cells. 

Wellness-promoting antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin in kale, spinach and eggs, work to promote healthy vision as you age.

Foods That Could Improve Your Mobility 

The fact that nearly half of seniors (49.7%) have been diagnosed with arthritis, according to the CDC, should be a wake-up call for anyone wanting to attain optimal wellness as they age.

Arthritis is characterized by a breakdown of your body's own cartilage tissue, which can create or worsen joint pain and pose serious barriers to mobility and quality of life. Since arthritis generally is caused by inflammation, eating vegetables rich in antioxidants and fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids to fight the body's inflammation, may help.

Eat well to live well. For more information on nutrients that help keep baby boomers healthy, download our free eBook:

New Call-to-action

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, Chronic Disease Management, Aging Well, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers and Functional Foods - Myth vs. Facts

Posted by Elizabeth Keegan MS, RD, LDN on Aug 23, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the third article of a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read part one and here to read part two.

Baby-Boomer_hispanic.jpg
Functional foods, sometimes called nutraceutical foods, are foods that offer health benefits that go beyond providing basic nutrition. They contain health-boosting nutrients or additives that have in many cases been shown to possess medical benefits.

The Mayo Clinic reports that incorporating functional foods into your diet could promote health, boost recovery, and reduce the chances of becoming ill. The example that the Mayo Clinic gives for a functional food is oatmeal:

Oatmeal is an example of a functional food that contains a health-boosting ingredient (in this case, soluble fiber) that may have medical benefits to you and your health (in this case, lowering your "bad" cholesterol levels).

Because our understanding of nutrition and disease is always changing, and because different people have different ideas about which functional foods and functional food regimens are best, there are a few myths out there. Below you'll find a breakdown of the most prevalent, and hopefully get a better understanding of the real facts behind functional foods, your health, and optimal nutrition.

Myth: Your body and its needs don't really change as you age

Fact: Your body's needs actually change dramatically as you age. Over time, some nutrients become harder for your body to produce on its own. The changing needs of baby boomers in general can make certain vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids more essential than they would be for a younger person.

As an example, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are important for cognitive function and heart health. In other words, staying sharp might mean consuming foods with added omega-3 fatty acids (many eggs have added omega-3) or perhaps supplementing with fish oil - after consulting with your general physician.

Omega-3 fatty acids are important for brain and heart functioning, and they're also important for keeping your joints in good shape. Joint health is one of those things that's taken for granted when we're younger, but joint health can be a big health concern for baby boomers. Calcium and magnesium also address the needs of baby boomers by boosting bone health; foods containing vitamin D would also be good to take since your body needs vitamin D to actually use calcium to strengthen your bones.

Myth: Functional foods are hard to find and expensive!

Fact: The truth is that functional foods with ingredients shown to improve your overall health can often be found in your local grocery store. That's because some of the real heavy hitters when it comes to functional foods are everyday fruits and vegetables.

Let's just focus on two nutrients for now that can be found in kale and tomatoes. Kale contains a nutrient called lutein - which can help support your eye health as you age. What's even better is that you can combine kale, spinach and eggs together (all three foods contain lutein) to get a functional food medley that really supports your vision throughout your golden years! Younger people benefit too.

The other functional food nutrient that's easy to find in your local grocery store is lycopene. This is a nutrient found in tomatoes and it's especially important for older men to have enough of. Why's that? Because lycopene has been shown to protect against prostate cancer and improve the overall health of the prostate as men age.

Another thing: for seniors looking to improve their digestive health, you don't need to look much further than the bread and cereal aisle at the grocery store. You can find insoluble fiber to improve your digestion in foods like wheat bran. Yogurts that contain probiotics can also work wonders for digestion, too.

Myth: The functional food trend is an unscientific fad

Fact: The surge in popularity of functional foods like fortified cereals and everyday vegetables like spinach is only going to get stronger.

The science shows that taking a calcium and magnesium supplement, for instance, could give seniors better bone and muscle health. Calcium and magnesium have even been shown to improve heart health for baby boomers. Magnesium is important for keeping a stable heart rhythm and getting your blood pressure in the ideal range.

This goes to show that the functional food movement is based on sound science. It also shows that you can add or emphasize certain nutrients to fit your particular risk factors, although most baby boomers should be getting things like vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids because they're so important.

It was the ancient doctor Hippocrates who said: "let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food."

To learn more, download this Superfoods Infographic!

SeniorSuperfood_FDryer_pdf.png

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

What are the Nutrition Strategies for Baby Boomers Managing Chronic Disease?

Posted by Joann Pierre, MS, RD, LDN on Aug 16, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the second article of a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read part one.

nutrition-and-chronic-disease.jpg

A chronic disease is one that lingers for a while, such as diabetes and hypertension. The U.S. National Center for Health Statistics defines chronic disease as one that lasts at least three months. What many baby boomers might find surprising is the fact that they might have a chronic disease. Nearly 90% of seniors have at least one chronic disease, and many may have more than one.

A lack of physical activity and poor eating habits might be partly to blame for that high number. Physical activity spread throughout the day and consuming nutrient dense foods have both shown to lower your chances of developing a chronic disease like hypertension, diabetes, and arthritis.

Antioxidants Reduce Your Risk of Developing Chronic Diseases

Doctors are finding out that cellular damage caused by free radicals could be at the heart of many chronic diseases, including cancer. Antioxidants, like vitamins C and E, protect the body against free radicals. Foods that are rich in antioxidants such as spinach, broccoli and raspberries, might reduce your risk of developing a chronic disease.

Reducing Arthritis (and Inflammation) with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The omega-3 fatty acids found naturally in fish and in fish oil supplements have been shown to improve joint mobility and reduce the chances of your developing arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory - meaning they reduce inflammation in the body - so eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids could help baby boomers fight arthritis and other chronic diseases.

Arthritis is currently the number one cause of disability in the United States. Arthritis is generally thought to afflict about 45 million Americans, but other estimates put the number at over 50 million Americans, or about 1 in 5 adults.

The good news is baby boomers that pick the right foods and get moderate exercise can significantly reduce their risk of developing arthritis, or having their arthritis worsen. Getting enough exercise can alleviate joint pain and strengthen the muscles around the joints; this helps increase mobility for those living with arthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial for your cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, and improving your heart health. Seafood, walnuts and spinach all have high levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Calcium and Magnesium Strengthen Bones and Muscles and Improve Heart Health

Calcium and magnesium help to build strong bones and muscles as well as improve your cardiovascular (heart) health. Eating leafy greens high in calcium and magnesium could actually reduce your arthritis symptoms by strengthening the muscles around your joints and improve heart health too.

More Foods to Improve Cardiovascular (Heart) Health

There are a number of additional foods that you can conveniently find in your local grocery store that have been shown to lower your risk of developing cardiovascular issues.

Oatmeal, Oats and Beta Glucan 

Something as simple as incorporating oatmeal into your breakfast provides a dietary fiber known as beta glucan, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease. The beta glucan in oats has also been found to reduce the "bad" kind of LDL cholesterol.

That's important because high levels of LDL cholesterol have been linked to a higher chance of developing cardiovascular disease, a chronic condition that too many baby boomers today are at high risk of developing, or already have developed.

Oatmeal and oats can help improve your cholesterol numbers and lower your heart disease risk, but what are some other foods you might want to check out? Other high fiber foods like whole grains, dried beans and peas, and fruit can also improve your heart health.

Olive Oil and Monounsaturated Fats 

Another great food to consider incorporating into your diet is olive oil. For years, scientists in the United States were puzzled by what they called the Mediterranean diet paradox: Many people in Greece, Italy and France consumed high levels of fat, but had lower rates of heart disease. It turned out that the monounsaturated fatty acids found in the olive oil that people in Greece and Italy drizzle on their salads had heart-protective benefits. Nuts like almonds, pecans, and cashews are also high in monounsaturated fats.

For more information on nutrients that help keep baby boomers healthy, download our free eBook:

 New Call-to-action

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

Why Should Baby Boomers Care About Nutrition?

Posted by Levinia Clark, RD, LDN on Aug 9, 2017 2:03:54 PM

This is the first article of a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. 

Nutrition-for-Boomers.jpeg

Diet has a direct effect on health no matter how young or old you are. However, if you were born between the mid 1940’s and 1960’s, the quality of your diet can have a greater, far-reaching impact than you might realize. Here are some important reasons why baby boomers should make nutrition a priority.

Rising Healthcare Costs

The baby boomer generation is one of the largest, with an estimated 74 million or more people. As this generation ages and moves forward together through retirement and the senior years, healthcare resources are becoming increasingly strained. The risk of cardiovascular disease and other diseases increases with age, and this means medical staff and healthcare systems must cope with a greater number of patients.

This rise also leads to Medicare challenges as baby boomers become eligible for the program and flood the system. Medicare has been a safety net for seniors to offset medical costs by supplementing their existing insurance or, in many cases, acting as their primary medical insurance. The influx of boomers puts an unprecedented toll on Medicare funds.

For boomers, this could mean an increase in out-of-pocket healthcare costs. To cope with these rising costs, it is smart to control what you can through a good diet. Nutrition is a building block to better health. Educating yourself about nutrition’s relationship to disease management and prevention can cut your medical costs by keeping your body healthier and out of the hospital.

Diet and Disease Prevention

Nutrition education is a key to better eating. In the case of eating healthy, what you do not know can hurt you. For example, with age comes changes in nutrient requirements. You need to keep your bones healthy by getting more vitamin D and calcium, and your body might not absorb certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, as readily as when you were younger.

Aging adults can’t rely on a standard multivitamin to provide all the vitamins and nutrients they need. Malnutrition in seniors often goes undiagnosed, and senior adults need more calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, niacin, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin E than younger adults.

To prevent or manage serious diseases common to baby boomers, such as diabetes and heart disease, the right nutrition is vital. Examples include adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet for preventing strokes, and limiting carbs to those low on the glycemic index for preventing or managing diabetes. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, research shows that the same dietary strategies that benefit cardiovascular health also benefit brain health. For the sake of your mind and body, you have to pay attention to your nutrition.

In short, what you eat has a direct and lasting impact on your health. The question becomes not if you can afford to eat healthy, but whether you can afford not to eat healthy. The answer is that good nutrition will save you both in terms of health costs and quality of life through your senior years.

Good Nutrition and Aging-in-Place

By staying well-nourished and preventing debilitating diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia you can maintain your independence longer and age-in-place at home. Those on a fixed income might be tempted to reach for the cheapest, easiest meals and pay less regard to nutritional content. Beware of boxed, highly-processed foods, which may seem like good deals, but are full of sodium, preservatives, and sugar, yet are low in nutrient value. While it takes some effort to learn healthy meal planning, the health benefits make it worthwhile.

If you lack the time, energy, or ability to fix wholesome meals, remember that help is available. Consulting with nutritionists for advice and receiving healthy home-delivered meals, for example, are two ways to ensure you are getting some vital nutrients every day. No matter how you incorporate better nutrition into your life now and in the immediate future, you can be assured that you will be healthier and be able to enjoy a richer life.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

Read More

Topics: Senior Health, Advice from Dietitians, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

Let Us Take Nutrition Care Off Your Plate!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Jul 12, 2017 11:02:45 AM

Hunger-man-with-cane2.jpgWe know avoiding hospitalizations is a top priority for health plans. One way to keep your members out of the hospital, and to reduce the chance of readmission, is to prevent malnutrition. In fact, roughly one-third of patients who are not malnourished at admission will become so during their stay. Weight loss, being underweight, and failure-to-thrive/malnutrition have all been associated with readmission within 30 days of discharge.

Is My Member Malnourished? 

Here are some signs to look for to see if your members may be at risk for malnutrition:

  • Unplanned weight loss – This is usually a loss of muscle, not fat. 
  • Chronic Illness – Those on special diets for conditions such as diabetes and hypertension may need help managing their diets. Special diets such as these may exclude foods the patient prefers to eat. 
  • Recent hospitalization – Lack of appetite is common after an illness or injury. Members may not feel like eating or have the energy to cook.

Malnutrition is common after discharge.  Members may have difficulty preparing nutritionally balanced meals at home.  Busy caregivers may not know what meals are best for their loved ones.

Members who are malnourished face several risks:

  • Increased risk of pressure ulcers
  • Decreased wound healing
  • Higher rates of inflection
  • More hospital readmissions and higher healthcare costs. 

Food as Medicine

Proper nutrition can be like medicine for those suffering from a chronic condition. Those with diabetes and cardiac conditions need to adhere to diets that are low in sugar, fat, sodium, and cholesterol. 

Referring your members to a home-delivered meal provider will help to ensure they will be eating nutritious meals. Home-delivered meals after a hospitalization can help reduce malnutrition and improve results in managing chronic diseases and conditions. Post-discharge meals significantly impact both short-term recovery rates and the long-term health of members.

Six out of eight studies found that home-delivered meals significantly improved diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduced food insecurity and nutritional risks among participants.  

To learn more about the impact of nutrition on the health of your members, download our eBook.

home delivered meals for discharge patients 

 

Read More

Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Malnutrition, Post Discharge, Senior Nutrition

Chef Mike is Our Secret Ingredient!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Jun 29, 2017 10:03:25 AM

chef mike test kitchen.jpgGA Foods is proud of our Executive Chef, Mike Thrash. Chef Mike is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and joined GA Foods in 2014. An award-winning chef, he enjoys creating new ways to reformulate recipes and enhance flavors, making him our secret ingredient for healthy meals senior adults love!!!

Chef Mike's menu planning includes the tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami. If you aren’t familiar with umami, it's a savory taste. Umami has a pleasurable effect on the overall satisfaction and enjoyment of a meal. As we age, our sweet and salt taste buds tend to be the most reliable. So we design meals that showcase sour, bitter, and umami.

Chef Mike uses his expertise to add flavor and flair to familiar foods. Here are some new menu items that will be available in July!

New-Meals.jpg
  • Meatballs and Penne Pasta in Marinara
  • Three Bean Chili con Carne
  • Homemade Chicken Stew (pictured)
  • Chicken Parmesan
  • Breaded Fillet of Fish (pictured)
  • Grilled Pork Chop with Homestyle Gravy

To be sure GA Foods provides meals that seniors love, we conduct satisfaction surveys. Chef Mike and his culinary team use that feedback, along with trends, demographics, and seasonality data, to design menus. Through sensory analysis techniques, Chef achieves meals with maximum flavor, presentation, and satisfaction. All meals adhere to nutritional guidelines and promote senior health

For more information on senior health, click below.

Senior Nutrition

 

Read More

Topics: Senior Health, Healthy Home Delivered Meals, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Nutrition

Does your grandpa have the meal support he needs after a hospitalization?

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on May 26, 2017 9:46:06 AM

is-grandpa-hungry.jpg

Food Insecurity in the United States

In the US, 48.1 million people live in households with food insecurity - meaning they do not have access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Of those people, 20% or 9.6 million are seniors. Seniors with food insecurity tend to have more medical and mobility challenges. Older adults above the poverty level can also be at risk for food insecurity, particularly if they are unable to shop for and prepare foods.

Many confuse food insecurity with hunger, but food insecurity is a social, cultural or economic status, while hunger is a physiological condition – the physical pain and discomfort someone experiences. Hunger doesn’t describe the scope of food insecurity. The scope is more than most realize. Here is a breakdown by state:

map_ers.png

In the News - Clarence Blackmon

One example of food insecurity is the story about Clarence Blackmon. Mr. Blackmon, age 81, was discharged from a rehab facility where he had spent many months battling cancer. When he returned to his apartment, his refrigerator was empty. He had money to pay for food, but not enough strength to shop for or prepare food. He didn't have any family in the area. Not knowing what to do, he called 911 and asked the dispatcher to bring him food. The dispatcher brought him food and even made him sandwiches for several meals. Unfortunately, many senior adults experience food insecurity after a hospitalization.

Food Insecurity after a Hospitalization

Food insecurity also has an impact on hospital readmissions. One study interviewed 40 adults with three or more hospitalizations within a 12-month period. They found, that like Clarence, 75% were unable to shop for their own food and 58% were unable to prepare their own food.

Last fall, the Food Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on Nutrition Across the Life Span for Healthy Aging. One of the presenters, Mary Ann Johnson, emphasized the need to think about nutrition interventions when someone is discharged from a hospital and sent home without meal support. Many end up in acute or long-term care. She “mentioned an ongoing national conversation on how the medical health and social services health systems can work together and suggested that meals are an important link between the two.”

After a hospitalization, patients generally have decreased energy, pain, weakness, and a poor appetite, putting those with food insecurity at an even greater risk for malnutrition, and associated poor outcomes.

Meal Services after a Hospitalization

Connecting food insecure patients with resources such as home-delivered meals (HDM), decreases their need for shopping and cooking after a hospitalization. HDMs provide a regular source of nutritious food for those that need it for their recovery, reducing medical costs and the risk of a hospital readmission.

Many Medicare Advantage health plans, provide post-discharge meals for members after a hospitalization. Members who receive home-delivered meals after a hospital stay regain their strength and energy faster.

To learn more about nutrition care after a hospitalization, download our free white paper:

New Call-to-action

Read More

Topics: Senior Health, Food Insecurity, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Health Plans, Senior Nutrition

No Place Like Home - Aging in Place for Seniors

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 10, 2017 10:22:19 AM

Senior Couple at home.jpgAccording to  The National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC), more than 90 percent of older adults prefer to stay in their homes rather than move to a senior facility. One of the challenges you face as a case manager is helping seniors to age in place. People want to stay in their homes because they are most comfortable with what is familiar. 

Senior Nutrition

Malnutrition affects approximately 50 percent of older adults. Malnutrition in older adults can lead to higher healthcare costs, more frequent hospital admissions, and longer hospital stays. Since appetites can decrease with age, many seniors skip meals. This can make them more at risk for malnutrition. Health issues like diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be the result of a poor diet.

Aging causes the metabolism to slow down, resulting in the need for fewer calories. Seniors need to eat wholesome, balanced meals daily. They should also avoid processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar and fat.

Home-Delivered Meals 

Preparing meals may be difficult after a hospitalization or for those with chronic disease. This can be especially hard for those suffering from fatigue or limited mobility. Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, helps older adults live more independently. Seniors will have the reassurance of receiving nutritious meals delivered right to their home.

  • Home-delivered meals, after a hospitalization, may significantly reduce nutrition-related complications. 
  • Home-delivered meals can reduce the occurrence of falls in the frail and elderly by up to 60 percent.
  • 92 percent of home-delivered meal recipients reported these meals allowed them to remain independent and living in their own homes.

Studies show that home-delivered meals significantly improve diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk.

As a home-delivered meal provider, GA Foods does more than deliver meals. They can be a second set of eyes and ears for case managers and care coordinators.  Field Service Representatives (FSRs) are trained to recognize potential issues when delivering meals to your members. If they identify any concerns, they contact the Customer Care Team with the information you need for follow-up. If it is an emergency situation, they will call 911 and make sure the Care Team contacts you immediately.   

Home-delivered meals may already be a benefit on your members' health plan. Home-delivered meals provide not only nutrition, but can increase the quality of life for those who wish to continue to be aging at home.

For more information, click on the image below to download our Aging in Place infographic:

 New Call-to-action

Read More

Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition Care, Care Managers, Aging Well, Senior Nutrition

Home-Delivered Meals - Safely Delivered!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 4, 2017 9:34:09 AM

Home_Delivery_F_Refrigerator-1.jpg

As a caregiver, you have many things to worry about. Food safety shouldn’t be one of them. When choosing a home-delivered meal provider, food safety and quality should be top priorities Selecting a provider that uses extensive food preparation safety procedures with a safe delivery model will provide peace of mind. 

Cold-Chain-Infographic_FINAL.jpgDon't Break the Chain

The “cold chain” process is one of the most effective and reliable methods of assuring food safety. This process ensures that food is maintained at temperatures that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can make you sick.  

The cold chain process transports perishable foods without using harmful preservatives and additives. This continuous cold chain ensures seniors will receive safe and healthy meals.

Here are some questions to ask when comparing home-delivered meal providers:

  • Is the food prepared fresh in an USDA-inspected facility?
  • Are the meals flash frozen to -19° F?
  • Is the food maintained in a cold storage at -10° F until delivery?
  • Is the food delivered to homes in specially-designed freezer trucks?
  • Do they have specially-trained drivers unpack meals and store them in freezer until ready to eat?

In-Home Meal Delivery

Some meal providers use third-party carriers, while others use their own employees. According to Consumer Reports, the number one complaint Americans had about meal delivery services was food that arrived spoiled, melted, or inedible.  When exploring home-delivery options, you may want to think about who will be making the delivery:

Here are some things to look for:

  • Drivers who wear uniforms and ID badges to readily identify themselves.
  • Drivers that undergo extensive background checks.
  • Delivery people who perform basic in-home observations. Some are trained and will alert case managers if they observe any unusual or life-threatening situations.
  • Frozen meals should never be left at the door. A reliable company will make arrangements to redeliver the food at a more convenient time. 

 GA Foods has been providing nutrition to seniors for over 40 years. They maintain control of the entire food preparation and delivery process. This further ensures the quality and safety of the food, and provides additional assurance to caregivers and families. You may also want to ask if the meals are suitable for diabetics and those with heart conditions. Meals that are low in sodium, sugar, and fat are best.

Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, helps older adults live more independently. Seniors will appreciate receiving nutritious meals delivered right to their home by a familiar and friendly face!

Download this eBook to learn more about how to choose a home-delivered meal provider. 

 Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

Read More

Topics: Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, The Cold Chain, Food Safety, Caregivers, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Nutrition

Search this Blog

Subscribe

Blog Topics

see all