Living Columns & Blogs

Meals on Wheels helps prepare for the ‘silver tsunami’

With recent advances in technology have come many additions to everyday American language to help us adapt to the changes. Most of us know the meanings behind the words/phrases of “email,” “Apple” (not the fruit) and “Google it.” There is a new one that has emerged recently — “silver tsunami.”

The termsilver tsunami refers to the large group of Americans who are advancing in age in record numbers. Ten thousand citizens turn age 65 every day in our country, and one-fourth of them will live past the age of 90. The average life expectancy of adults in the United States has increased to 78.7 years.

Operating with this awareness of the silver tsunami, State College Area Meals on Wheels continues to address many issues surrounding an aging population — good nutrition, safety and social connections. With its mission to prepare and deliver nutritious, affordable meals to the elderly and disabled living within the State College Area School District, SCMOW delivers approximately 1,100 meals per week to an average of 160 individuals. A cadre of active volunteers delivers both hot and cold meals to clients five days per week. In addition to bringing the nutritious meals, volunteers often provide quick safety assessments of clients in their home environments and give much-desired social interactions with clients.

Volunteer-delivered meals enable clients to age independently or heal in the comfort of their homes, thereby resulting in clients maintaining positive mental health, keeping their families intact and continuing social connections. In its 46-year history, SCMOW has delivered more than 1.4 million meals to seniors in the State College area.

SCMOW accepts individuals who are over the age of 60 and/or persons who cannot prepare meals for themselves or their families due to illness or disability. Clients contribute toward the cost of their meals on a sliding scale fee basis, and no one is turned away due to inability to financially contribute.

SCMOW cannot provide meal service without citizen volunteers. We are always actively seeking new volunteers to help with meal preparation and packaging, and delivery and client visitation. If you have one to two hours to spare per week, or even every other week, we are interested in talking with you. Our volunteers find the SCMOW service experience to be easy and rewarding.

For more information about our meals or volunteer opportunities, call us at 237-8135.

Christine Tyler is the executive director of State College Area Meals on Wheels.