Meals on Wheels help seniors live at home. Meals on Wheels help caregivers cope. Meals on Wheels is more than food, it’s the reassurance that someone will be stopping by to check in and make sure things are okay. During the international March for Meals celebration we want to tell you even more about how this program helps seniors.
It’s a myth that Meals on Wheels is a program only for people who are low income. It’s a myth that sometimes stops people who need Meals on Wheels from requesting this program. Seniors who need high quality, low sodium, nutritious meals are eligible for Meals on Wheels. Having a fat bank account won’t put a healthy meal on the table of a senior who has arthritis in her hands and can’t easily prepare a meal; it won’t lift the burden of a caregiver so that he has the motivation and the energy to prepare a meal for himself and his wife with Alzheimer Disease; it won’t put a hot meal on the table of the man who eats cereal for each meal because he just doesn’t feel like preparing anything and his neighbours just can’t bring in food each and every day. That fat bank account won’t make it possible for the senior with debilitating migraines to have a hot meal after spending three days in the dark to let the pain pass. And it won’t help the couple, who each have three chronic diseases, on the day that living is tough and food is needed but food preparation is the last thing on their minds.
This is the 42nd year of providing Meals on Wheels in Prince Edward County. Such myths still prevail. I would shout it from the rooftops if it would make a difference – the meals are for people who need them. Eligibility is based on need…not financial need…health needs.
Meals on Wheels is for these people, and maybe for you, if you see yourself in the descriptions above. There’s more to tell you, though. Having hot meals delivered to your door also provides a check. Those who deliver know that if a person doesn’t answer the door that a call to the office is in order. Our staff will find out what’s going on. We’ve found people unwell in bed and unable to get to the door. And yes, we’ve found people who have died. The security check that comes with the hot meal delivery is very important to the wellbeing of some seniors who make the choice to live at home.
Don’t worry that it’s volunteers who deliver the meals. You are not imposing on them at all. Volunteers live longer, healthier, happier lives. They know they are needed and the act of helping someone else provides a boost that promotes wellbeing. Some physicians actually prescribe volunteering for some of their patients. When the volunteer hands a meal to a senior, they gain from that activity, almost as much as the senior who receives the meal. For now the volunteer provides a contactless delivery and they stand back for the client to come to the door and retrieve the meal.
That’s not for you, you say? Don’t need anybody handing a meal over your threshold? Well, then, you can order as many as you like of the frozen meals – entrée, soup, dessert, breakfast – twice a month. You can pick up the meals when they arrive, have your family member or neighbour pick them up, or we’ll send a caring volunteer to your home with your order. The menu is wide, the food can even be ground (for those who need it), there are detail sheets for those with diabetes, the food is tasty. Why wouldn’t you consider this as an option?
If you’re the reader without the fat bank account (as many are) and you just don’t think that the fee is in your grasp, think about how you won’t need to buy groceries for the days you eat the hot or frozen meals. Still concerned? Talk confidentially to one of our co-ordinators and they’ll discuss reducing the fee or waiving it altogether. We are Community Care and we care about you. We can’t care for you if you don’t let us know your needs. Call today. We keep your business confidential. We guarantee that.
I haven’t shouted this from the rooftops but I have written about it in the County Weekly News and you have read what I have to say about these meals. Please tell your friends. Please call 613-476-7493 and talk to us if you need this support. We’re here for you…during March for Meals and every month. We’re Community Care for Seniors. We care.
Debbie MacDonald Moynes is Executive Director of The Prince Edward County Community Care for Seniors Association.