With the arrival of the month of March, hundreds of local Meals on Wheels programs across the nation will be gearing up to put the focus on senior hunger and isolation in their communities. Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission (LCRAC) will be participating in the month long campaign –March for Meals. For 35 years, Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission’s Meals on Wheels Program has been providing nutrition services to those individuals in Lexington County who are 60 or older and qualify for services. Currently the program serves approximately 1,250 clients and annually provides over 144,000 meals; both congregate and home delivered. Congregate meals are served at one of 7 senior center sites where seniors come to eat, participate in activities, exercise, attend educational sessions, socialize, etc. Transportation is provided to and from the senior centers for those who cannot drive or lack transportation.
Unfortunately, many older individuals face financial constraints and are forced to make difficult decisions such as whether to purchase food or purchase prescriptions. When older individuals deny themselves proper nutrition, many health and medical issues arise as a result of poor nutrition.
To address insufficient or inadequate nutrition for seniors, LCRAC’s Meals on Wheels Program provides meals Monday through Friday at one of seven congregate or senior center sites across the county. For individuals that have difficulty leaving their homes, a daily hot meal delivered by a Meals on Wheels volunteer is provided or weekly 5 day frozen meals are provided. These varying options help to meet the diverse needs of the clients served.
Although meals are the top priority for the seniors receiving Meals on Wheels services, there are several other services available to further support the specific needs of this population. For frail and homebound clients who may have difficulty navigating the maintenance of their home, home care services may be an option to assist with light housekeeping and other activities of daily living. Transportation assistance to medical appointments via the medical escort services is also available to clients. Clients needing information on other community resources can acquire information via our Information and Referral Specialist. For those who would like to be checked on daily, telephone reassurance is available via a phone call from a volunteer calling to assure all is well. Services often depend on the availability of funds for certain program, the severity of need for an individual and the geographic location of the client.
The Aging Program also organizes and/or participates in several service projects to include Christmas in Lexington County (CILC) , a home repair project that provides minor home repairs to low income seniors residing in Lexington County that own their homes. The repairs take place in a one day blitz supported by volunteers.
In December, over 1000 food bags are prepared and distributed to all clients served by the Aging Department. The project is funded by Walmart Community Giving grant(s), community food drives, and monetary donations. Another holiday project is The Tree of Blessing done in collaboration with The Flight Deck. Needy senior’s names and gift requests are placed on a tree and are available for adoption.
The Aging Department working in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture assists in the determination of eligibility and distribution of Farmer’s Market Vouchers for seniors in Lexington County.
By providing nutrition services through meals and other ancillary services, the goal is to support clients nutritionally to promote health and wellness and avoid costly entries into assistive living facilities or hospitals. In general, older individuals have a desire to remain in their homes and continue to be a part of their communities. For many older individuals the Meals on Wheels program allows them to do this.
If you are interested in knowing more about Meals on Wheels services, the March for Meals Campaign r volunteering, or would like to support us through a donation, call 356-5111 or visit our website at www.lcrac.com