Meals On Wheels delivering more than just meals

How do you put a face on MAC’s Meals On Wheels program?

Just one face? It is impossible.

Every senior, every story, every need is unique.

But for all the Lower Shore seniors who receive Meals On Wheels, there is one commonality: The program delivers more than a meal.

Safety check

Frail older persons are at an increased risk of medical emergencies, falls and accidents. The routine meal delivery helps recipients feel safer in their homes because they know someone will be stopping by to check on them.

For 77-year-old Ruth, the home-delivered meals program offers a safety check that helps her feel safer in her home.

During a recent meal delivery, the driver observed that the woman was not “quite herself.” A friend was summoned, and a check revealed very low blood sugar. An ambulance was called, and the driver and the woman’s friend stayed with Ruth until help medical arrived.

Reducing isolation

Isolation takes a toll on the health of seniors. In fact, a recent study by the AARP Foundation shows that the effects of social isolation on health are equal to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Bertie is 79, lives alone, and is on oxygen. He appreciates the friendly face of his meals driver – who most of the time is his only human contact for the day.

“I thank God for Meals On Wheels,” he said. “This program gives me something to look forward to. Some days, the driver is the only person I see all day long.  He always has a smile and words of encouragement for me.”

Improving health

Good nutrition is critical to keeping seniors out of hospitals and long-term care facilities. Meals On Wheels ensures that seniors have access to nutritious food.

Jean, 87, is a widow and is physically frail. She is unable to stand for more than a few minutes at a time, and must hold onto something for safety.

“I can no longer prepare food on my own. I am grateful for the nutritious food that Meals on Meals provides. It helps keep me living in my own home.”

Exactly who depends on receiving more than a meal? In MAC’s Lower Shore service region of Wicomico, Somerset, Dorchester and Worcester counties:

  • 59 percent of home-delivered meal recipients are age 70-75; MAC recipients range in age up to 102.
  • 64 percent are women.
  • 15 percent are veterans.
  • 60 percent are homebound due to illness or injury.
  • 71 percent have been screened as high priority for food insecurity, which is defined as consistent access to adequate food being limited by a lack of money and other resources.

Once home-delivered meals enter the picture:

  • 90 percent say the meal improves their health and reduces their risk of falling.
  • 92 percent report that Meals On Wheels helps them feel more secure in their homes.
  • 59 percent of recipients say the driver delivering the meal is often the only person they will see that day.

Throughout the Lower Shore, Meals On Wheels delivered more than a meal to 875 seniors last year.

With the costs of food, preparation and packaging, and delivery constantly rising, community support is more critical than ever to continue serving those seniors who need it.

MAC’s mission is to provide programs and services that preserve dignity, health and independence for an aging population.

Food is among the most basic of needs. Please support MAC in its work to deliver more than a meal to Lower Shore seniors. For more information on how to help, call MAC at 410-742-0505.

MAC is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. MAC is located at 909 Progress Circle, Salisbury MD 21804.

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