Meals on Wheels Program
Meals on Wheels in Schenectady County has been a part of Catholic Charities since 1975 delivering meals 7 days a week. It is one of the primary factors in keeping the elderly in their home and avoiding or delaying transfer to a more restrictive setting. Equally important is the daily contact the drivers provide to the participants. The program serves homebound individuals and those in the greatest economic need. Most of the clients have long-term needs, but some require meals for only a short time while they are recuperating from an illness, injury, or surgery.
Meals on Wheels (MOW) operates in virtually every community in America with more than 5,000 independently-run local programs. While the diversity of each program’s services and operations may vary based on the needs and resources of communities, MOW programs are committed to supporting the senior neighborhoods, through home delivered meals, to live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes.
What Are Home Delivered Meals?
At the core of the Meals on Wheels Program is a nutritious meal providing one-third of the recommended dietary allowances delivered to homes of seniors who cannot prepare a meal for themselves. For those who qualify, a second cold meal can also be delivered each day. Also included is a watchful eye on the health and safety of homebound seniors. For those who have trouble getting around, we bring the service to you.
What Does the Home Delivered Meals Program Provide?
A hot noon meal is provided – usually meat or other protein, starch, vegetable, milk, dessert, bread & butter. An optional supper meal is available – sandwich, small salad, milk, dessert, and juice. Regular and special diets are also available such as diabetic, renal, and vegetarian. Foods may be chopped or pureed if needed.
Who is Eligible to Receive Meals on Wheels?
Eligibility for the program includes seniors who are 1) residents of Schenectady County age 60 years or older who live alone or a couple who both meet eligibility criteria; 2) primarily homebound who do not drive; 3) unable to prepare their own meals because of a physical and/or mental disability; 4) and have no one to help regularly with preparing nutritious meals. A spouse or dependent, regardless of age or disability, living with the eligible senior may also participate.
How Much Does It Cost?
Seniors are encouraged to contribute according to their ability; however, there is no obligation. A suggested donation of $3.50 for each meal received assists the Agency with providing these meals. Some government funding supports the program, along with donations. All donations are voluntary, private, and confidential. Several insurance companies cover the cost of the meals and food stamps are accepted as well. A monthly statement verifying meals received with suggested donation will be provided to each participant.
Who Delivers the Home Delivered Meals?
Friendly, caring drivers are employees or volunteers of the Agency. All drivers are screened and trained prior to assuming the responsibility of delivering meals weekdays between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm and weekends between 10:00 am and 12:45 pm.
Who Can Call to Request the Service and What Information is Needed?
Meals on Wheels receives calls from seniors requesting the service for themselves, family members of eligible seniors, hospital discharge planners, rehabilitation facilities, insurance companies, etc. A telephone intake is conducted to determine if the person meets eligibility criteria. A home visit assessment is scheduled within the first week to determine the person's needs and ongoing eligibility. A diet referral is sent to the participant's primary physician for dietary instructions. Bi-annual reassessments, telephone and home visits, are required to be conducted.
Volunteer opportunities are available for drivers to deliver food to homebound seniors. Drivers are needed weekdays and weekends and a daily shift requires three-hours of your time and the ability to lift 30 pounds. The position requires a commitment to a specific set schedule.
For additional information on the program call (518) 688-0051.