When family members become concerned with the health and safety of their senior loved one, a primary question is whether the senior is getting nutritious and varied meal options. 

Food is a critical part of our daily lives, both for the health value and also the simple pleasure of eating.  However, planning and preparing meals becomes more difficult with cognitive or physical decline.  

Someone feeling fatigued, depressed or lonely may not have the energy to put into meal prep, cooking, serving and then clean up.  Some seniors with cognitive impairment start losing weight because they forget to eat.

A quality home care agency, such as ours, has home care aides that can take care of meal planning, shopping, preparation, serving and clean up. But not all home care aides are gourmet cooks, so it helps to combine other options available in the community.

Researching or experimenting with a food delivery or prep service is especially helpful when a senior is resistant to or can’t afford in home care.  Meal services also help fill the gap when someone has only limited in home care per week. 

Here is a list of some local services, along with how to contact them and general information about how each service works.

EveryTable is a packaged meal delivery service that bases the price on the median income of the senior’s zip code, between $6 and $10 each serving. For example, in Rancho Santa Fe, the meals cost roughly $8.25. In Del Mar, the meals are $9, in Chula Vista, the cost is closer to $6. They are smaller, single serving options, many of which do not need to be heated.

I decided to try the meals before writing about them. So I’ve ordered twice, and I enjoyed all but one item. I really liked the Homegirl Salmon Adobo, Roasted Veggie Grain Bowl and all of the salads. I did not like the turkey meatballs.

The portions are hearty enough for one person, but not so big that a senior might feel overwhelmed or wasteful.  For the salads, I liked to chop them up to make the pieces smaller. 

The deliveries occur either on Wednesday or Sunday and should be brought inside and put away within three hours. The meals are ordered online. This is a service that a care manager can provide, if family is too far or busy. A homecare aide can also be there on delivery day, take the meals out of the container and place them in the refrigerator, marking which one to eat daily.

ChefsForSeniors  is a weekly chef service. You can find the correct local contact online by searching zip codes or calling 844-237-2433. The company has chefs in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties. A background screened chef can plan the meals, bring the ingredients to the home, cook and then clean up. The menu is customized to fit the desires and needs of the senior. There is an online ordering system where a senior can choose 4 specific meals from a varied menu.

Martha’s Home Gourmet  is a meal plan service that is monthly $349 to $713 based on a 28 day period, with the option of ordering 3 to 7 meals per week. The price ranges between $349 – $713 depending on which options are chosen. This is available in San Diego and Los Angeles Counties.

Benton Cooking is a meal planning service, in which a meal is defined as three items; a protein, starch and vegetable. The cost ranges and depends on the number of meals ordered. For 10 meals or less, each meal is $25, plus delivery. A 24 meal pack is $18.75 per meal.

Meals on Wheels is a non-profit, volunteer staffed service that offers one to two meals per day, seven days a week. Eligibility requirements are that the senior be 60 years of age, or a veteran of any age, or client’s caretaker. The cost is roughly $4 to $7 per day, plus a $35 start fee. The program accepts SNAP food assistance for financially vulnerable seniors.