Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels promotes the dignity and independence of older adults, persons with disabilities and other home bound persons by delivering nutritious meals and providing or coordinating needed services.
Meals on Wheels operates in virtually every community in America through a network of more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. While the diversity of each program’s services and operations may vary based on the needs and resources of their communities, they are all committed to supporting their senior neighbors to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes.
The mission of Meals on Wheels is to promote the dignity and independence of older adults, persons with disabilities and other home bound persons by delivering nutritious meals and providing or coordinating needed services.
About Meals on Wheels
Most of their clients have aged in place, living in the same home for many years. This home is where they feel safe and comfortable. The majority of their clients were self-sufficient and productive their entire life, but they can no longer remain at home without assistance. Without help from Meals on Wheels, many of their clients would be forced to live in a nursing home or have other full-time care before they really need it. That means they could end up in an expensive facility where they do not need most of the available services.
Meals on Wheels can deliver meals to one homebound person for an entire year at a cost lower than one day in a hospital or six days in a nursing home. Plus, their home-delivered meals program saves money for taxpayers, who often subsidize the cost of nursing home care for those who cannot afford it. Every dollar invested in Meals on Wheels can save up to $50 in Medicaid spending.
Who is Eligible
Home-delivered meals are available to anyone who is homebound for any length of time, is physically or mentally unable to prepare a nutritious meal for themselves, and has no one to help them on a regular basis. Some people may be recovering from a hospital stay or illness and will only be on the program for a short period of time. Others have a long-term need and may receive home-delivered meals on an ongoing basis. This problem affects people of all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Consequently, there are no age or income restrictions and no one is ever turned away due to their inability to contribute toward the cost of the services that they receive.
Client eligibility and progress are reassessed every 90 days and clients go off the program when they no longer need the services. All clients on the program receive a noon meal Monday through Friday. Clients who are determined to have additional unmet nutritional needs receive a cold breakfast along with their noon meal, which is intended to be eaten the next morning. Clients without any help are identified as having the greatest risk of not having their nutritional needs met and receive additional meals on Friday to be consumed over the weekend.
No senior deserves to be hungry or alone. To make a contribution to Meals on Wheels.
Meals on Wheels’ volunteers play a vital role in delivering services because they provide friendly visits and observe firsthand the condition of those on their delivery route. If a client does not answer the door, the driver will report that to a staff member who follows up to make sure the client is safe and not in distress. These daily safety checks give many of their clients and their families an added peace of mind.
Caring volunteers freely give of their time and personal resources to ensure that homebound elderly and disabled clients receive a nutritious meal. These compassionate individuals do more than just provide a meal and a friendly home visit. They are trained to contact our office if a client does not answer the door. This daily safety check gives many clients and their families an added peace of mind.
Your help is needed to deliver meals to people in need in your neighborhood. Volunteers typically deliver meals only one day per week, Monday-Friday. Individual and group opportunities are available. If you would like more information on becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer, please contact the local chapter of Meals on Wheels nearest you.
How Else Can You Help?
Meals on Wheels’ Friend to Friend program is designed to help combat the loneliness and isolation of their homebound clients. Volunteers are encouraged to build friendships with lonely clients by making weekly in-home or telephone visits. Many of their clients have no visitors except for the person who delivers their meal each day. As a society, we tend to ignore our most seasoned members. These individuals have been productive members of society for many years and have interesting stories and experiences to share with anyone who will take the time to listen.
You can enhance someone’s life by simply being a friend to an elderly or disabled person who may have no other visitors. At first, you can talk about the weather, a good book, or current events. The great thing about friendship is that these conversations will develop and become more meaningful to both you and the client. Numerous volunteers say they get more out of the friendship than they could ever hope to give the client. Plus, your weekly visit gives Meals on Wheels one more set of eyes to check on the well-being of their clients. If you notice a change in the client’s health or behavior, you can alert Meals On Wheels so that they can follow up with the client. These additional safety checks give everyone involved an added peace of mind.
If you would like more information on the Friend to Friend program and how you can help, contact the local chapter of Meals on Wheels nearest you.