Because good nutrition is critical to health, functioning and quality of life, meals have always been an important component of community-based services
for seniors. In this issue we focus on lunch programs at Senior Centers. We look at the number of meals served, who is eating those meals and some
different approaches to the traditional congregate lunch.
Let's have a look.
Welcome to...Fun Facts - the Lunch edition
I Believe In Lunch
In the United States and Canada, lunch (abbreviated from the original luncheon) is a moderate-sized meal eaten at some point between 11:00 and 3:00. And that's not
just the wikipedia definition, Centers start their lunches all throughout that range. The most common time, though, is 11:30 AM.
Something we were curious about when doing the research for this issue, was the differences between people who attend lunch and those who do not.
We looked at the average check-in time
across the Network, for lunchers vs. non-lunchers, during December 2014 and found that non-lunchers show up at the Center, on average, 37 minutes earlier
than lunchers. For some Centers, the difference is even more dramatic - 2+ hours.
I Wish Lunch Could Last Forever
Over 7 MILLION lunches were served in Centers across the MySeniorCenter Network last year, to nearly 350,000 people. That's a lot of lunch!
Over the last 5 years, the number of meals served per Center has stayed about the same, but the number of people served (the unduplicated count in MySeniorCenter)
has gone done a bit. That means that the number of meals per person, per year must have changed, right?
Yes, it does! In fact, each participant is having, on average, two more lunches per year. That also means that newer members appear likely to participate
in the congregate lunch program.
Let's learn more about the people eating those lunches.
Life In The Foodchain
Last month, we showed how the average
age of lunch participants has been increasing gradually. That graphic becomes espcecially interesting when we compare it to the average age of
non-lunchers over the same time period.
So far in 2015, there a 3+ year age difference between lunchers and non-lunchers. What's also interesting is that the
gender make-up of lunch participants has changed slightly. In 2010, 71% of the lunchers were female. This year,
69% are female. That probably doesn't sound like a big difference, by when you multiply a 2% change across 350,000 people, it starts to add up.
Let's Do Lunch
We've heard some really creative ideas across the Network about how organizations are reaching folks through restaurant-based lunch programs.
People still want to gather for lunch and there's no reason the Center can't help them do that, even if it isn't IN the Center. Using
names like 'Dining Out', 'Senior Dine' and 'Lunch Bunch', these programs have partnered with area restaurants to offer a special lunch option
for their members.
People purchase tickets or coupons at the Center and then use them at the restaurants. It's a great way to extend your reach and encourage
socialization. This idea has a lot of potential and we're excited to see how it goes.
If you have anything about your lunch program that you'd like share with the Network, please let us know here:
Be Safe In The Workplace!
June is National Safety Month! You all work hard, so please be safe. The National Safety Council has a good website
with lots of workplace safety tips and resources to download. There's also a
section with ideas for helping to fall-proof people's homes that you can share with others.