Prior to January 2020, most of us couldn’t fathom the idea of a global pandemic. There are plenty of movies about it, but we didn’t think it could happen to us.
Now, in December 2021, we have lived through a pandemic. COVID has caused over 795,000 deaths in the United States alone and has disrupted our lives to the point of significant social change. As a result, many people don’t feel comfortable getting on public transportation or taking an airplane, and most are wary of even stepping foot in a grocery store.
Like most, our seniors have seen a significant upheaval in their ways of life. Many were isolated before, but now many haven’t seen their loved ones in years, and their nutrition has likely suffered. But, for the seniors who are part of the Meals on Wheels program in Contra Costa, our partners have taken safety and service to a new level.
Our clients have benefited from Meals on Wheels senior meal delivery services during the pandemic! Let’s take a look at how we have accomplished this.
Meal Delivery pre-COVID-19
How our partners delivered meals pre COVID-19 varied but typically followed a specific pattern.
Our senior clients would receive hot meals delivered right to their doors each day. All of the meals that the seniors receive are nutritionally balanced, offering all of the vital nutrients that a senior might need.
This is the model that Meals on Wheels has been using since 1954. The delivery drivers would be available to help deliver the meals right into homes, where they could perform wellness checks on the seniors in their routes. Both the meal deliveries and wellness checks are the hallmarks of the Meals on Wheels program.
These deliveries represent more than just a meal; it’s an opportunity for an isolated or vulnerable senior to see a friendly face. It is also the difference between a senior having the independence to live in their homes without too much help. Nursing homes can be costly, and many seniors want to avoid having to live in one as much as possible.
But, COVID-19 drastically changed how and when we deliver meals.
Meal Delivery Now
During the pandemic, our partners transitioned to delivering frozen meals once a week. We also gave out extra emergency packs, so our seniors would have access to nonperishables if they should need them.
This process made it safer for the delivery drivers and our senior clients. The meals would be dropped off at the senior’s home without any direct face-to-face contact. The drivers still perform wellness checks, but done safely and from a distance or over the phone.
As the COVID-19 vaccine has become more prevalent, our partners have begun transitioning back to in-person wellness checks but have made the decision to continue with the frozen meal deliveries. Many seniors have expressed that they enjoy how easy the frozen meals are, so our partners might adopt a hybrid model in the future.
No matter how our partners deliver the meals, they always keep senior health in mind!
More Resources for Seniors Health Services
“Today, the average life expectancy is at a record high of 79 years. As we get older, even the most independent among us may experience physical declines or financial hardship that strips away our independence. Add to that an increase in geographic mobility of our families, and the result is millions of seniors left behind, hungry and alone.” – Meals on Wheels America.
Although Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa and our partners make every effort to help seniors in our community, many more resources are available. For family members who are concerned for their loved ones, we have an entire resources page dedicated to providing some extra help.
These resources include dining services exclusively dedicated to senior health and wellness. One example is the Contra Costa County Senior Cafes, which has multiple locations and serves lunch meals for seniors. These lunch meals are nutritionally balanced and since it’s a cafe setting allows for safe social interaction!
Getting Help from Meals on Wheels
Our mission at Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa is to help our partners subsidize the cost of their senior meal delivery services. If your loved one needs help getting nutritious meals delivered right to their door, we encourage you to contact our partner organizations!
Learn more about Meals on Wheels Diablo Region here.
Apply for help from Meals on Wheels West Contra Costa here.
Learn about eligibility for meal delivery from J-SEI here.
Joining Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa
The end of the year is just around the corner, and we would appreciate any help you can provide this holiday season! You can make a tax-deductible donation here or sign up to volunteer with our office here.