As a husband, Jim Pfander vowed to love and support his wife, Patti, through sickness and health. As a caregiver, he devotes every day to making sure she is well cared for, as a patient with Alzheimer’s dementia.
This includes handling her medication, finances, driving to appointments and running errands — which leaves little time for meal planning and cooking.
“I’ve got a lot of issues on the table all the time,” he said. “And so meals got to be a pain in the neck.”
Their case manager at UnitedHealthcare recommended Mom’s Meals as an option to help.
Mom’s Meals provides nutritious, ready-to-eat meals for vulnerable individuals, including eligible Medicare and Medicaid recipients, as a way to support overall health and wellness. Since 2017, the organization has served over 11 million meals to 80,000 UnitedHealthcare members, like Jim and Patti.
"It comes in a box that's very convenient," Jim said. "When I go now to the store, I don't have to spend a lot of time because … I don't have to worry about making a lot of choices. So that becomes less of a difficult outing for her."
The menus are created by professional chefs and dietitians to make sure the meals are delicious, as well as being able to support those with complex needs. This includes options for lower sodium, heart-friendly, diabetes-friendly, renal-friendly, gluten-free, cancer support, vegetarian and pureed items.
In addition, home-delivered meals like these can help address food-access concerns for those returning home from an acute hospital stay, who may be unable to cook for themselves, or for long-term caregiving.
"Healthy eating is a key part of healing and staying healthy," said Michelle Yount, a customer service representative for Mom’s Meals. "These meals come in so handy for people with all types of mental and physical disabilities. They can just pop (them) in the microwave and feel good about eating something nutritious."
For many Medicare and Medicaid members, this may be more than a wonderful convenience — especially during a pandemic — it can be a key component to overall health. For example, following hospital discharge, evidence-based research has shown that a combination of meal delivery and case manager interaction lowers 30-day hospital readmissions. In fact, one Medicaid plan found that after a 90-day use of Mom’s Meals for their Medicaid members, there was a 45 percent drop in readmission.
For Jim, Mom’s Meals allows him to focus on what’s truly important — quality time with his wife.
"We sit down at a meal and this provides us with the things that we need," he said. "It makes our life a lot simpler."