Meals on Wheels
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Meals on Wheels
Hunger is a serious threat to the health and well-being of our country’s seniors. It is estimated that 11.4 percent of all those over age 60 experience some form of food insecurity or hunger. Particularly in these economically challenging times, when many older persons’ food budgets have been stretched to the limit, more seniors are at risk of not having enough to eat. To help improve senior nutrition, Elder Services’ Nutrition/Meals on Wheels program has been offering hot nutritious meals to Berkshire seniors since 1975. Since 1994, we have operated our own kitchen in Lanesboro, which in the past 15 years has prepared over 3 million hot, nutritious weekday meals for Berkshire County seniors.
Elder Services’ Meals on Wheels program provides nourishment for seniors who are homebound, and cannot perform many of the simple tasks needed to prepare a hot meal. The “typical” individual served by our Meals on Wheels program is between 75 and 90 years old, female, widowed, and living alone. Some of the seniors who receive meals have difficulty standing, others no longer have the manual dexterity or physical strength needed to open cans, heat and serve food or wash dishes. Many can no longer cook safely. Most have incomes below the federal poverty level, and struggle to make ends meet. Many of these older people would not have enough to eat if it weren’t for the hot home-delivered meals. Receiving Meals on Wheels reminds seniors that they are not alone, and they are not forgotten.
Elder Services’ Meals on Wheels program provides not only a hot meal, but also a wellness check. In many cases the interaction the senior has with the driver is the only personal contact a senior has that day. If something seems amiss with the senior, the driver may ask if he or she would like a visit from a case manager to see what other services the senior might need. If someone fails to answer the door, the driver reports this to Nutrition program staff, who take immediate action to make sure everything is all right. Emergency contacts are notified, and the safety protocol continues until the senior has been located, and/or emergency assistance provided.
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