Eating enough (and well) is one of the most basic tasks we all have to manage each day, but it gets a lot harder when you don’t have easy access to transportation to run to the grocery store or go out to eat. For many seniors, from the day driving becomes unsafe, one of the biggest problems they have to find a solution to is figuring out how to get enough food to eat without being able to drive.
This is a serious need – you can’t opt out of eating when it becomes inconvenient, even if you wanted to – and it’s often one of the reasons seniors end up moving to assisted living sooner than they might have otherwise.
Fortunately, a large number of businesses have come onto the scene in the past few years that make it easier than ever to have people bring food to you. If you’re newly stuck without driving privileges and wondering how to reliably get your three meals a day in, one of these five options (or a combination of them) could be the solution you need.
- Grocery Delivery
Going to the grocery store has long felt like a tedious chore for many. A number of businesses have therefore stepped in to take that particular chore off customers’ plates and allow you to do your grocery shopping from home and have all the items you need delivered straight to your door.
For seniors who can’t get to the grocery store themselves, these services can be a boon. Many of these businesses only offer services in some areas, but as their popularity grows, they’ll likely expand their offerings to more cities over time.
If you’re interested in grocery delivery, these are some of your top options:
- Shipt – For a monthly or annual subscription fee, you can use Shipt for grocery delivery as often as you please. Orders over $50 get free delivery.
- Instacart – Instacart has a delivery fee each time, or the option to pay $99 a year for free delivery.
- Burpy – Burpy is available in a few cities in Texas. They charge a delivery fee for each order under $50, but offer free delivery for those over.
- PeaPod – Peapod offers service in a few cities around the country. They do have a delivery fee and a minimum order requirement of $60.
- Amazon Fresh – Amazon is in the process of adding grocery delivery to the long list of services they offer. For now, it’s only available in a few cities, but may well expand if it proves successful. Where it is offered, Amazon Fresh is available only to Prime members, at an extra monthly subscription fee.
- Jet – Unlike most of the services on the list, Jet doesn’t send a personal shopper to your local grocery store, they have their own inventory of grocery items they send. Unlike the other options, they therefore make free returns a big selling point if you end up with something you don’t need. They also offer free shipping on orders over $35.
- Fresh Direct – Fresh Direct also has their own inventory rather than using your local grocery stores. Their big selling point is the promise of freshness. Fresh Direct does have a minimum order and delivery fee, both of which vary based on location.
If none of these deliver to you where you live, some grocery stores offer their own delivery service. Check with your local grocery store to see what they have to offer. That failing, see if you can find someone in the neighborhood willing to help you out for a fee. A post on NextDoor could help you find a neighbor happy to pick up a few extra items each week for a little extra cash.
- Meal Kit Delivery Service
An increasingly popular trend in the last few years, meal kit delivery services deliver pre-portioned ingredients for recipes that you can then cook. Most of them work essentially the same way, you sign up for once a week deliveries and receive the ingredients for a set number of meals each time. A couple of the services (Chef’d and FreshRealm) have a more on-demand model, allowing you to pick specific meals and order them as you need them.
If you like the idea of meal kit delivery, these are some of your options:
- Blue Apron – Starts at $8.84 per serving
- Hello Fresh – Starts at $8.74 per serving
- Green Chef – Starts at $10.49 per serving
- Home Chef – Starts at $9.95 per serving
- Purple Carrot – Starts at $9.25 per serving
- Marley Spoon – Starts at $8.90 per serving
- Peach Dish – $12.50 per serving, with discounts for larger orders
- Terras Kitchen – Starts at $9.99 per serving
- Sun Basket – Starts at $9.99 per serving
- Plated – Starts at $8.74 per serving
- Chef’d – Starts at $5 per serving (for light meals)
- FreshRealm – Starts at $5.25 a serving (for light meals)
For many of these, the prices are if you go with a family plan that’s enough food to feasibly feed several; the price for fewer servings goes up a bit per serving.
Some of these services offer specific plans designed to satisfy dietary needs, so if you don’t eat meat or are allergic to gluten, look for a service able to accommodate those needs. Some also make a big point of ensuring their meals are either organic, healthy, or both, so if those qualities are important to you, you have options.
- Prepared Meals
If the meal kits sound like too much work and you’d rather go with an option that doesn’t require you to do your own cooking, some services are available that send over already prepared meals that you need only heat up and eat.
Some of your options for this type of service are:
- Munchery – Offers both a subscription model with weekly kits and the option to order specific meals when you want them
- Freshly – Offers several subscription plans starting at $8.99 a meal
- Home Bistro – Offers kits that include a number of different meals and the option to order specific meals when you want them
- Factor 75 – Offers several subscription plans starting at $11 a meal
- Magic Kitchen – You can pick specific meals or a complete meals menu developed by their chefs, including a Senior Meals menu.
- Top Chef Meals – Allows you to choose specific meals from their menu for delivery when you want them
- Sunfare – Offers both monthly subscription plans and weekly plans that allow you to order only what you want a week at a time.
Many of these services offer plans and meals that accommodate specific dietary requirements such as being gluten free or vegan, so if you have specific dietary restrictions you still have options.
- Restaurant Delivery
While not as new as some of these other options, the possibility of having food you love delivered from your favorite restaurant remains an easy option that seniors can take advantage of.
Lots of restaurants offer their own delivery services, but for those that don’t, you can often still get ahold of your favorite dishes with one of these delivery services:
These services partner with restaurants in the area in order to offer a range of options. You can theoretically use the same service to get a different type of food every night (at least for a little while, until you run through the list of options).
- Meals on Wheels
All of the options above can make seniors’ lives easier, but at a price. For seniors who aren’t sure they can afford those options for all their meals, Meals on Wheels can help fill in the gaps by providing some extra food each week. And you get the company of a friendly volunteer as a nice added bonus.
Possible bonus option: Local CSAs
Depending on where you live, there may be a Community Supported Agriculture program in your community that will deliver produce to you at home. The option isn’t widespread enough to include it on our main list of options, but it’s worth checking to see what’s available in your area if you like the idea of having farm fresh produce delivered to your door.
Seniors today have it far easier than the generations that came before when it comes to making sure you can get tasty, healthy food brought straight to you as you need it. If feeding yourself once you stop driving is something you’ve worried about, you can stop worrying and trust you’ll have plenty to eat.