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Unity senior living community combats poor nutrition among elderly

| Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Ruth Armitage, dining service director at Emeritus at Latrobe, preparing some of the 50 meals the senior living community in Unity delivered to elderly recipients to help combat the problem of poor nutrition.

A senior living community in Unity has been reaching out to senior citizens in the Latrobe area in the past two months, delivering meals to help combat the problem of poor nutrition among the elderly.

Emeritus at Latrobe, a senior facility along Brouwers Drive, is completing its goal of delivering 50 meals to senior citizens in the Latrobe area in March and April, said Jeannette Evans, community relations director. The frozen dinners, complete with rolls and dessert, can be heated that day or placed in a freezer for future use, Evans said.

“We made the meals from scratch at our facility,” she noted.

Evans said she and Ruth Armitage, Emeritus dining services director, worked in tandem to deliver the meals, which were well appreciated by the seniors receiving them.

Emeritus tapped into a variety of sources in identifying those who would receive the meals, Evans said. One of the sources was family members who were considering a senior living community for their loved one, she said.

“They're still at home, and we know we can reach out to them,” she said.

While the company's nationwide promotion of delivering 10,000 meals in March and April to senior citizens ended on Tuesday, Evans said she would like to continue the outreach program.

The initiative was part of nationwide effort by Emeritus' parent company, Emeritus Senior Living, to alleviate the problem of senior citizens' nutritional deficiencies by serving 10,000 meals to the elderly in the communities it serves in the past 60 days, as well as visiting with them to ensure they are able to get the nutrition they need every day.

The promotion was conducted in conjunction with National Nutrition Month.

Almost one in 10 seniors in America has poor nutrition, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Poor nutrition can exacerbate problems common among seniors, including depression, improper healing and a depressed immune system.

“Seniors may not get the nutrition they need for a variety of reasons. For some, it's due to a lack of financial resources. For others, (it's) a lack of reliable transportation. In many cases, isolation and depression have caused seniors to lose interest in cooking and eating healthfully,” Armitage said.

Emeritus at Latrobe, which has about 100 residents, said it has provided outreach to seniors living at home through an Emeritus program in which senior living professionals visit the elderly to identify where they could use help and to connect them with the services they need.

“We are committed to making sure that every senior in need in this area finds the combination of programs and services that serves them best, even if they do not live with us,” said Nancy Woodward, executive director at Emeritus at Latrobe.

“The 10,000 meals initiative also supports our ‘Safely Somewhere' program, ensuring that no matter where a senior lives, they are safe and living a purposeful life,” Woodward said.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or