Meals on Wheels Program Endorsed by Representative

Saturday, May 24, 2014
Courtesy: 
Voices
Waterbury, CT

State Rep. Mitch Bolinsky, R-106, was among those who took part in the 12th annual National March for Meals, Meals on Wheels program.

The program is run through the New Opportunities Inc., which supports senior neighbors to make their communities stronger and people healthier.

“I thank New Opportunities for all they do in the community with the “Meals on Wheels” program,” Rep. Bolinski said.

“It was eye-opening to see their efforts to go beyond providing for their clients’ nutritional well being.”

Meals On Wheels home-delivers two meals a day up to seven days a week to seniors, age 60 and older, who live within the greater Waterbury and Danbury areas.

Those younger than 60 years with special conditions may also qualify for the service.

Meals On Wheels also provides a day’s food for emergencies and inclement weather situations when delivery might be impossible.

The program goal is to keep seniors healthy and living in their own homes.

One of the other benefits to the Meals On Wheels program is the volunteer drivers who deliver the food to their customers are committed to reducing the isolation experienced by so many elderly.

Frequently the driver may be the only person providing human contact and a safety net, particularly to those seniors who live alone.

Often the driver can accommodate the time or manner of delivery so that it works best with the recipient’s lifestyle.

“The Meals on Wheels program is a key element in the home and community-based network of care,” Lisa LaBonte, Director of New Opportunities, Senior Nutrition Services said.

“Providing one or two meals a day to an elderly person in their home helps ensure that they are not only eating, but eating food that meets the nutritional standards necessary to keep them healthy and active.

“Home delivered meals also provide a daily social contact for the elderly person, something that is essential to older adults living alone in the community.

“This simple and very inexpensive service can help prevent or delay the need for more costly services such as hospitalizations and nursing home care.”

Reimbursement rates for services offered under the CT Home Care Program for the Elders, including Meals on Wheels, have not been increased since 2007.

Additionally, the price of gas and food has continued to rise making it extremely difficult for meal providers to operate.

As it stands, elderly nutrition providers are losing an average of $1.23 for each two-pack of meals they deliver.

One major provider has already discontinued providing meals and others are questioning their ability to continue.

Those seeking additional information may call Elder Services at 203-757-7738 for the greater Waterbury area, 203-743-5418 for the greater Danbury area, or email Nutrition [at] NewOpportunitiesInc [dot] org.

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