What is a congregate meal? A congregate meal is a program that provides a hot, homecooked meal to older adults in an accessible group setting. Menus are focused on meeting USDA dietary guidelines. Beyond providing nourishing food to eat and options to socialize, congregate meal sites may offer other services to improve participants health and wellbeing.
What are the benefits of congregate meals? Congregate meals offer a variety of benefits, especially for older adults who live alone. These benefits include:
• Improved nutrition: As we age, our dietary requirements change. Through congregate meals, older adults receive nutritious, well-balanced meals on a regular basis. Getting more of the nutrients they require — such as protein, calcium, and fiber — can help prevent chronic conditions like heart disease, hypertension, and osteoporosis. It’s no surprise that 80 percent of congregate meal participants say the program improved their health.
• Dietary variety: Congregate meals give older adults the chance to enjoy meals they may not want to or be able to prepare themselves. Having a varied, interesting diet is not only healthy; it enriches our well-being.
• Social connection: Social isolation can lead to loneliness and depression as well as higher blood pressure and early-onset dementia. Attending congregate meals on a regular basis gives older adults the chance to meet new people, nurture lasting friendships, and build a solid support network. It can provide a foundation for a thriving social life that makes it easier to live independently. In fact, 54 percent of congregate meal participants say the program increased their social opportunities.
• Greater food security: Having regular access to nutritious food is a vital aspect of overall health. However, in 2019, roughly 5.2 million older Americans faced food insecurity. Congregate meal programs help fill the gaps for many older adults, with 54% of participants reporting that a congregate meal supplies at least half of their total food for the day.
Meals provided at congregate meal sites have no set fees, but small donations from participants are encouraged to help support program costs. Current Roosevelt County meal sites are at the seniors centers in Bainville, Culbertson, Froid and Wolf Point. The requested donation is $6 per meal for anyone over the age of 60 and their spouse (regardless of spouse’s age.)
Bainville congregate meals are served Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon. Culbertson Congregate meals are served Tuesdays and Fridays at noon. Froid congregate meals are served Mondays and Wednesdays at noon. Wolf Point congregate meals are served Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon. All sites also include a salad bar, dessert, and drinks.
All congregate meals sites have plenty of room for new participants and we would love it if you brought a friend! All monthly menus are posted to our Facebook page Roosevelt County Aging Services, our website rooseveltcountymt. org, daily on KVCK radio station, and at each meal site.
For more information, contact Julie at 406-653-6221 or Alyssa at 406-653-6279.