Annual Tradition Spanning 27 Years Delivers Hot Meals to Isolated Older Adults in Southern California
LONG BEACH, Calif.—Nov. 19, 2019—SCAN Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, will deliver more than 2,100 turkey dinners with all the trimmings to senior residents throughout Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties on Thanksgiving Day. For nearly three decades, SCAN has recruited local volunteers to package and deliver these holiday meals.
“The holidays can be a difficult time for many people, especially seniors who don’t have friends or family nearby, have limited finances or struggle with access to food,” said Denise Likar, vice president of Independence at Home, a SCAN community service. “Our goal each Thanksgiving is to help alleviate these challenges, even if it’s just for one day.”
Since its founding in 1977 by a group of seniors looking to improve access to the care and services they needed to remain independent, SCAN has worked with both members and the community at large to address the issues beyond medical care that can lead to negative health outcomes—such as social isolation, food insecurity and lack of transportation.
“SCAN has focused on the needs of seniors for over 40 years, and we’ve seen families volunteer year after year, with children and grandchildren joining them to share in the tradition of giving back,” added Likar. “There’s no doubt that making a personal connection can make a true difference in the lives of older adults, and we’re incredibly grateful to the many volunteers and community partners who have made this possible for nearly three decades.”
According to Meals on Wheels Riverside, 1.48 million seniors in California live alone, more than 1 million are threatened by hunger and 2 million live at or near the poverty line. Older adults, who may experience chronic health conditions, limited income, social isolation and medication side effects, may also be at a higher risk for malnutrition.
“Social barriers seniors face in our area are both addressable and preventable. By coming together as a community, we can eliminate the obstacles that keep seniors from receiving the support they need to thrive,” stated Darren Dunaway, associate director of senior services for the Human Services Association (HSA).
HSA’s program will provide the Thanksgiving meals in Los Angeles and Orange County. SCAN has also partnered with Family Service Association to prepare meals for the Inland Empire.