Are you outraged by the new administration in the White House? If you are not, this week’s announcement of the budget proposal cuts should get you pissed off and angry. Do you have an elderly parent or grandparent who relies on Meals on Wheels? In the USA the fastest growing population is the elderly, aged 85 and older. One in four elderly is estimated not to have sufficient income to buy food. The elderly in hospitals and nursing homes, about 50%, are malnourished according to New York State Office for the Aging. When our elders lack the basic necessity such as food, they get infectious diseases, and it takes them a longer time for recovery with higher surgery risk. Seniors in poor nutritional status are also more likely to need home-care and eventually institutionalization. If the elderly do not have Medicaid, then they have no access to home-care.
The Meals On Wheels program in 2016, provided 218 million meals to 2.5 million Americans. Approximately a half million of those receiving the meals are veterans. The annual meal cost is $2,765. The program uses volunteer drivers to provide a hot meal daily to the elderly across the country. About 5,000 Meals on Wheels groups exist to help the elderly stay in their own home instead of going into a nursing home, which is more expensive. The volunteers delivering the meal also provide companionship and also see how well the elderly individuals are doing. A wellness checkup gives an insight if the elderly individual’s health is failing or not. A bond is formed with the volunteer, and it becomes a relief to a family member who might be living out of state. Sometimes the elderly does not have any family member.
About 57% of the elderly receiving the meals on wheels live alone. 40% of the elderly rarely or never leave their home. 66% of the elderly are women. With these statistics, this program is an added benefit to the longevity of the lives of our elderly parents and grandparents.
The thought of being alone inside an apartment or home lacking the necessity of food for our elders is incomprehensible and shameful. The Meals on Wheels program reduces government expenditures by reducing the need of the elderly to use hospitals, nursing homes or other community based services which are more expensive. Business and small business partners along with Meals on Wheels help support the elderly. The program hosts a variety of events throughout the year that support the preparation and development of nutritious meals for the elderly.
Support your local Meals on wheels program in your community to have no elderly go hungry, and donate to help keep the program alive. Write letters! Make phone calls to your local and community leaders! Let your voices be heard against this administration dismantling programs necessary to the lives of the citizens of America! Meals On Wheels is vital for the health and well- being of the elderly and our veterans.
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