“Social determinants of health are ‘the structural determinants and conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age,’” according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. “They include factors like socioeconomic status, education, the physical environment, employment, and social support networks, as well as access to health care.”
Supporting individuals and families with barriers to success in improving their Social Determinants can improve their overall well-being. Our work as a Meals on Wheels provider is not only to offer excellent nutrition and quality meals service, but to serve as the eyes and ears of the community for people who are often isolated and living with long term physical ailments in addition to low income levels and other barriers to health.
Meals on Wheels drivers are in a good position for detecting any alarming changes in recipient health, and have been effective at alerting care coordinators when a senior may need help addressing the social determinants of health, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.