Congregate meal program offers seniors free or low-cost meals

Home-delivered meals for homebound seniors also available

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published August 9, 2019


MADISON HEIGHTS — The Madison Heights Active Adult Center not only offers opportunities for recreation and socializing, but it also continues to support a congregate meal program open to anyone ages 50 and older.

There is a suggested donation of $6 for those ages 50-59, and $3.50 for those 60 and older — but you can also eat for free if money is tight.

The Active Adult Center is located at 29448 John R Road in Madison Heights, and can be reached by calling (248) 545-3464. People are asked to sign up in advance, by noon the day prior. Meals are served at noon Mondays through Fridays.

“Our meal program not only provides a home-cooked meal, for free if needed, but it can provide so much more,” said Jennifer Cowan, the Active Adult Center coordinator. “People regularly tell me they come for the services but stay for the sense of belonging that they find. Most people have raised a family, worked most of their lives and then retired. They’ve been so busy taking care of someone else, and then they find themselves at a new stage of their life where they’re not sure where they fit or what they want to do next. Here, they can try out new things, go new places and meet new people that become not only their friends, but many times just like family.”

A different meal is prepared each day of the month. Some favorites include meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn, Polish sausage with sauerkraut and pierogis, Thai peanut chicken with brown rice and broccoli, baked macaroni and cheese with stewed tomato and zucchini casserole, and potato crunch fish with brown rice and California blend veggies.

All meals include a drink of milk and/or juice, and can include fresh fruit and/or dessert depending on the day. Meals are typical home-cooked, organizers said. The dining room at the Active Adult Center is spacious and well-lit, with a capacity of 150 patrons.

Rides to and from the center are available on weekdays for Madison Heights residents. The Active Adult Center also provides transportation to places such as Kroger, Meijer and other locations that are within 1 mile of Madison Heights, including pharmacies, banks, beauty salons, the library and other stores depending on the day. The fee for the rides is $2 round trip.

There are also transportation options available to and from doctor’s appointments for residents on Mondays and Fridays. These are for doctor’s offices within 7 miles of the Active Adult Center, and the fee is $5 round trip.

Other services at the Active Adult Center include exercise classes such as chair yoga, Zumba, tai chi, cardio drumming and line dance weekly; classes on arts and crafts, cooking, and brain games; special field trips; massage therapy, reflexology and podiatrist appointments; access to exercise machines and computers; a game room and a collection of books and puzzles; free smoothies once each month; a grief support group starting this fall; bingo twice a week, with a free prize bingo on Tuesdays and regular bingo on Thursdays; free grass cuttings through the yard service program; free loans of medical equipment; free computer assistance; free health screenings; and more.

“Occasionally, we will throw in something special to brighten up our patrons’ day, like free snacks or a mini scavenger hunt,” said Heather Parker, an assistant at the Active Adult Center. “We have something to offer just about everyone.”   

As for the congregate meal program, there are also home deliveries available for those ages 62 and older who are homebound. To arrange these, call (248) 689-0001.

The congregate meals and mobile meals are provided by Oakland County Meals on Wheels and prepared at the Troy Community Center, from which they are they distributed to various communities. The meals are federally subsidized by the Area Agency on Aging 1-B.

“For most of our patrons, this is the only hot meal they will have during the day. Many of them live alone and don’t want to cook, or don’t have the money to cook often,” Parker said. “On top of a healthy, well-rounded meal, they also have the opportunity to socialize with others in a safe, clean and inviting setting. For quite a few of our patrons, we are their lifeline. They come here for human interaction and fellowship. Many times, their time spent at the center and lunch is all of the human interaction they will have for the day. They feel welcomed, wanted and well-fed when they are here.”

The Madison Heights Active Adult Center is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call the Active Adult Center at (248) 545-3464.