Meals on Wheels for senior citizens

June 14, 2016

Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN) provides help, hope, and a sense of family for homebound, at-risk seniors with a robust selection of programs. The best known is Meals on Wheels (MOW).

MOW provides meals for 2000 seniors every week. Praise from grateful clients and referrals from social workers have made the program very successful and very popular. In fact, the responses have been so positive that MOW now has a waiting list, which CCSN is addressing dutifully. The agency continuously streamlines processes, seeks additional funding sources, and utilizes strategic partnerships that enable MOW to be as efficient as possible.

Taxpayers receive a benefit too. For every 200 seniors who can continue to live at home, the money spent to provide them home-delivered meals saves taxpayers an estimated $8.5 million dollars per year that would have been spent on nursing home fees.

Two services that demonstrate CCSN’s dedication include home-delivered modified-texture (pureed) meals (via the Medical Nutrition Therapy program) and free pet food to clients with pets so that the clients do not have to choose between buying food for themselves or for their beloved companions.

MOW drivers are also part of the service package to seniors. Indeed, the drivers may be the only regular social interaction senior clients receive each week. Therefore, drivers are carefully selected and ServSafe-trained. They not only drop off food, but also check for any wellness needs. The drivers are trained to recognize and report signs of abuse, neglect and other issues of concern. MOW drivers feel a sense of loyalty and responsibility for the well-being of the clients. Such caring service gives the seniors a sense of support and reduces the feelings of loneliness and isolation.

The goal is always to care for the person at hand. CCSN uses a case management model to identify the eligibility and needs of each MOW client. Based on the assessment, a care plan is created with the appropriate type of nutrition services including diet modification, counseling, education, nutrition interventions, and the use of special supplements. In addition to a set of seven frozen nutritious meals, milk and fresh fruit delivered weekly, clients receive services tailored to their specific needs.

CCSN even utilizes a registered dietician who works with an executive chef to provide healthy and nutritionally balanced meals. In addition, appetizing presentation and enticing flavors encourage clients to eat the meals which are delivered in containers that are easy to store and microwave.

Meeting all the standards established by the Older Americans Act, CCSN’s MOW program helps seniors remain healthy, independent and properly nourished, one delivery at a time.

Allison Duck, Senior Grant Writer, Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada

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