The Semcac Senior Dining program serves anyone 60 years of age or older, or the spouse of someone 60 years old. Meal sites normally offer a single menu over the noontime on Mondays thru Fridays. Client satisfaction surveys have indicated that diners wanted more menu options and expanded meal service times. In answer to these requests leadership decided to explore an innovative meal service that is offered at Hy-Vee food stores in Kansas.
Following a successful dialogue with the management in Kansas, Semcac staff approached the Hy-Vee stores in Rochester, MN. A service was created at the 37th Street location based on its’ proximity to senior housing. The Senior Diner’s Club was established and now offers seniors the ability to conveniently dine for one meal a day between 11 AM and 6 PM on any day of the week. The culinary experience offers numerous healthy menu selections from soup and sandwiches to Italian or Chinese.
Seniors go thru an enrollment session and a Dining Club card (similar to a credit card) is issued. It can be easily pre-loaded with the number of meals that they have designated by mail, phone, e-mail or on site. Diners can easily access a web page to view the number of meals they have left and meals are deducted from the card with a simple “swipe” of the card.
The program at Hy-Vee was officially launched in October of 2017. One hundred and twelve unduplicated seniors have been provided meals during the first 9 months of operation with the following demographics: 54% were 75 + years of age, 12% live “outside” the City of Rochester, 71% were female, 55% live alone, 64% are at or below 150% of poverty, and 7 % were minorities.
The Senior Dining Club has been a wonderful option for the senior population and the Agency plans to expand operations to Hy-Vee stores in Austin and Owatonna by the end of 2018.