A Healthy Mind is a Young Mind
Posted July 5, 2016
by Julia Linko, Development Intern
While we all know that we need to eat right and workout to stay healthy and in shape, we often neglect our brain and forget that it too is a muscle we need to work out.
Our brain is an important organ that is responsible for our body’s communication system and just like the rest of the muscles in our body, it needs to be worked out and strengthen.
Memory loss is common in the elderly and is caused by damaged nerve cells that occur over time. And while it cannot be stopped, there are some things we can do to slow down the process.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, social interactions and participating in mental activities can help lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. They say this is because of the “direct mechanisms through which social and mental
stimulation strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain“.
Playing cards, doing word searches, and playing computer games are all activities that help to keep our minds engaged. Joining a card or a book club is a great idea, because it brings both the mental activity and social interaction together
Another option is joining websites such as Lumosity. Lumosity is filled with brain games and training activities that were created by game designers and scientists together to improve cognitive thinking.
Things that will also help slow down memory loss is getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy foods such as, nuts, whole grains and fish, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol low, in addition to working out the rest of your body.
And as Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”; so, let’s all stay a little bit younger and a little bit wiser by keeping not only our bodies fit, but also our minds.
Father's Day Sprint Triathlon: Staying Safe in the Heat
Posted May 31, 2016
by Julia Linko, Development Intern
Our Annual Father’s Day Sprint Triathlon is in a few short weeks, (June 19th), and with temperatures rising we want to make sure everyone stays safe while training and competing in the heat.
A few things to remember when you are out in the sun:
Drinking water is always important, especially as you are sweating, you want to make sure you are replenishing your body’s water supply. A common mistake people often make is thinking they just need to drink water during their activity; and while this is true, it is also important that you are drinking plenty of water prior to and after your workout.
2. Wear light and loose clothing.
Your attire is something to take into consideration, too. Don’t wear dark colors that will attract the heat, make sure you are comfortable and able to move around easily. Hats are great too, not only to keep the sun out of your face, but also, to help keep your head cool.
Make sure to apply sunscreen in the morning (even if it’s not sunny out yet) and bring some with you to apply throughout the day. It is best to choose a sweat or water resistant sunscreen that you won’t sweat off easily but, remember that every couple hours you still need to reapply.
4.Lastly, listen to your body.
Don’t push yourself too hard. If your body tells you it needs a break or your start to feel lightheaded or dizzy, find some shade and rest.
Adding Zip to Your Meals & Avoiding the Salt
Posted Mar. 30, 2016
by Martha Lucius, Cavaletta Solutions
At beginning of every year, articles on food trends are everywhere. It’s always a fun read. The reality is, food trends are a bit like fashion. Trends come and go.
Certain items come back—natural ingredients, local produce, ancient grains (like oatmeal). Makes us wonder, what food trends serve us as we age? The biggest factor affecting us as we age, our taste buds change. And if foods do not taste the same, we may not eat as much, or we try enhancing our foods.
Naturally, this is not the fun part of aging—food is one of the greatest pleasures in life. So, when food doesn’t taste as good, what do we do? We reach for the salt—hoping to intensify flavors we remember. We know that is not the right answer—while it might enhance flavor, salt leads the human body in an unhealthy direction. No matter our age, young, middle age or elderly, high blood pressure is quite simply, bad for your health.
High blood pressure can damage not only your heart, but also your brain, kidneys and other organs. There are wonderful alternatives to salt, that enhance flavor, and broaden the taste of food. Recognizing and using alternatives to salt should start as soon as we can. Here is a short list. If we start adding these items into our cooking, no matter your age, we’ll be investing in our ability to enjoy food, and eat healthy for years to come.
Lemon—starting with the closest substitute for salt, lemon stands out. Fresh lemons should be a staple in any kitchen. Many cultures use lemon to enhance a flavor, where salt is not commonly used. The good news—lemon is very healthy. It is common in the Mediterranean diet, and brings out the freshness and flavor of any dish you create. Meyer lemon is only available in January or February, but the flavor is stunning. Good item to try.
Lime—like lemon, lime is a substitute for salt. It is the lesser known citrus cousin. This flavor is ubiquitous in Thai, Indian and Vietnamese foods. We should have this on hand in our kitchens. The flavor is different from lemons, and wonderful. Good in an herbal tea, and squeezed on fish, beef or green beans.
Parsley—probably the underdog of the herb world, and our cooking knowledge. In our American food culture it is consider a garnish, not an ingredient. Parsley’s qualities, are rarely publicized. (Not as newsworthy as the presidential election!)
The quality we are highlighting here is its power to enhance flavor, and it promotes good health. Parsley is incredibly nutritious and changes a dish from dull, to fresh and vibrant. If you are a little hesitant, consider making a chimichurri—a dipping sauce made of parsley, garlic, and oregano.
Beautiful in color and flavor. If you could add one herb to your palate in the next year, parsley is probably the healthiest choice. We cannot force ourselves to love it, so buy a bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley once and a while. Reminding ourselves to use it as an alternative to salt in any ground beef or chicken dish will get our creative thinking going.
Mint—this flavor is lesser known in our American palate. Considering that it fits so well as a garnish, perhaps we can think of it as an alternative to salt, because the flavors are new and exciting. The very nature of mint is freshness. Mint is often associated with sweets and chocolate, but mint also works very well with savory foods.
The journey to enjoying food as we age may ask us to try new flavors. If we start exploring sooner rather than later, chances are food will continue to be one of the greatest joys in our life. That is a goal worth attaining.
Recognizing a Stroke
Posted Feb. 10, 2016 by Guy Arceneaux,
Director, Marketing & Communications
Remember the 3 steps, S-T-R: Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster.The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
Doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking
three simple questions:
1) S - Ask the individual to SMILE.
2) T - Ask the individual to TALK-and speak a
simple sentence coherently like:
"I like chicken soup"
3) R - Ask him or her to RAISE both arms.
If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe
the symptoms to the dispatcher.
New Sign of a Stroke - Stick out Your Tongue!
A new sign of a stroke is: Ask the person to stick out his tongue. If the tongue is crooked, if it goes to one side or the other,
that is also an indication of a stroke.
Be an Advocate for the Power of SNAP (Food Stamps)
Posted Feb. 8, 2016 by Barb Levin, Director, Client Services
Many seniors are short of funds, they are forced to choose between food,
medicine, and heating their homes. The majority who qualify, never apply for
Maryland’s Food Supplement Program. (Also known as SNAP or Food Stamps.)
Spread the news—help is available…
SNAP can be used to pay for food at the supermarket,
or for home-delivered meals here at Meals on Wheels of
Central Maryland, Inc..
Know someone who’s struggling? Have them call us.
We don’t want people to skip meals to make ends meet,
or forego medicine or heating their home to pay for food!
A Few Words About SNAP
(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
Posted Aug. 6, 2015 by Barb Levin, Director, Client Services
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is committed to doing everything possible to ensure our clients have the food they need to thrive. That goes well beyond just delivering meals.
Many of the seniors and disabled adults we serve struggle to afford food. Some try to stretch the lunch and dinner we bring them 5 days a week, to cover breakfast and weekend meals too. Others redirect money needed for utilities or medicine to pay for food, taking half the medicines their doctors prescribe or living in apartments that are way too hot or way too cold for comfort. Many buy the cheapest foods they can get to fill up on – even if those foods lack nutritional value.
Many Don’t Know They Qualify for this Program
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly called Food Stamps) could help, but shockingly, the majority of seniors who are eligible for SNAP, never apply. Some simply don’t know about the program, having spent most of their adulthood living middle class lives and suddenly finding themselves impoverished in their later years. Others find the idea of going through the application process overwhelming.
Getting the Word Out About SNAP is Part of Our Mission
MOWCM is committed to helping our clients find out about, and successfully access, the benefits they qualify for and so desperately need. With grant funding from the USDA, we have an ongoing outreach program to tell clients, and other seniors and disabled adults, about SNAP. Volunteers help by delivering verbal and written messages to our clients, and by letting staff know if they see someone they believe could benefit. Recently, additional funding from Meals on Wheels America, allowed us to participate in a pilot program using interns and volunteers with tablets to help clients through the SNAP application process. Finally, our case workers and client liaisons are there to assist clients; following up on applications, assisting clients to collect the documentation they need, and providing the extra help needed to ensure that those who qualify, receive the help they need.
New Year's Resoutions 2015
Posted Feb. 19, 2015 by Stephanie Archer-Smith, Executive Director
Although the celebrations of the New Year are long gone, the year is still young and resolutions, full of hope and optimism, are still fresh in our hearts and minds.
At Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, we are full of optimism for the New Year. Recently, the Federal government demonstrated their support for older Americans with the renewal of The Older Americans Act (OAA) which provides funding to help support home delivered meal programs and other services to seniors.
Gas prices are down, allowing us to shift those savings into serving more meals for more homebound seniors. Did you know that for every penny gas prices drop, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is able to serve 45 more nutritious meals? With 27 Meals on Wheels vans that hit the road everyday to deliver “more than a meal” to homebound seniors throughout Maryland, every penny truly counts!
While we are full of hope and optimism, the best example of that can be found in our clients, who remain engaged in life and connected with the community. Their interest and spirit never wanes despite the physical or mental changes experienced as a part of aging. And they are ever so grateful that Meals on Wheels supports them in maintaining that engagement.
I recently read the poem ‘On Aging’ by the late, great Maya Angelou, and was moved by its truth and simplicity. In reading it, I hope that you too can see the simple blessing of being alive, and life worthy of living, simply by being here.
On Aging—Maya Angelou
When you see me sitting quietly, like a sack left on a shelf
Don’t think I need your chattering, I am listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you’ve got it, Otherwise, I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching, and my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor. Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you’ve got it, Otherwise, I’ll do without it!
When you see me walking, stumbling, don’t study and get it wrong.
Cause tired don’t mean lazy, and every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then, a little less hair, a little less chin;
A lot less lungs, much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky, I can still breathe in!
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you’ve got it, Otherwise, I’ll do without it!
So this year, 2015, we at Meals on Wheels resolve to:
- See the life that exists in each and everyone we serve
- Honor their desire to be connected and engaged
- Understand them rather than pity them
- Recognize their worth
And, above all, know that the simple act of being there – without scientific study or explanation; without chatter to fill the silence – is all that is needed.
It is truly an honor to be a part of this work that is so much more than a meal to so many in our community.
Connecting the Spokes—In a Unique Way
Posted Oct. 8, 2014 by Dale Johnson, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Volunteer Program Coordinator
After spending much of 2012 helping organize and then leading a 60 day bicycle ride across the United States to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis, I returned to Baltimore to start researching and looking for a new volunteer opportunity. In my mind, Meals on Wheels always seemed to have a stellar reputation. While browsing their web site, I saw a tiny blurb about a program called “Meals on Two Wheels”, where meals were delivered by bike. It was an environmentally friendly alternative to their standard deliveries and was a healthy way to delivery nutritious meals. Wow! Helping my favorite people (seniors) and riding my bike. What could be better?
After speaking to one of the coordinators at Meals on Wheels, she explained the program was on the books, but nobody was actually doing it. I said I was interested and was given a route in the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore City. Although I live in Towson, I wanted a route in Baltimore City. The City has a massive ongoing effort to make Baltimore more bike and pedestrian friendly. Folks commuting to work by bike have been increasing at a phenomenal rate. According to the City’s bike and pedestrian coordinator, Caitlin Doolin, between 2012 and 2013 alone, people commuting by bike increased by 65%.
Within two weeks I was hooked and said to myself, “I need to get this program off the ground”. The Meals on Wheels coordinator was thrilled to have someone who wanted to resurrect the program. And, for the last two years that is what I have tried to do. The first year involved a lot of research and planning. In year two (2014), we began promoting the program and have 7 cyclists delivering meals. The staff at Meals on Wheels has also been very supportive of the program and my efforts.
Over the past two years, I have seen so many advantages to the “Meals on Two Wheels” program. In many ways the deliveries can be easier and sometimes even faster than by car. As you can imagine, parking is a snap and I think I have learned all the short cuts and alleys throughout Hamdpen. We are generally limited to routes with 8 or fewer clients, unless we are dealing with a high rise with a close drop-off point.
To learn more about this program, please contact email@example.com.
For additional information on meal delivery or to become a "Meals on Two Wheels" volunteer, please apply today or contact Volunteer Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BEING MORE THAN A MEAL
POSTED ON SEPT 24, 2014 BY CASSY RODERICK, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS INTERN
One of my assignments this month was to “shadow” a meal delivery route and learn more about the role of the volunteer at Meals on Wheels. What an experience it was! The first volunteer I met was Gloria. She has been delivering food with Meals on Wheels for almost 36 years. She has been on the same route for all of those 36 years. (Gloria is pictured in the photo below. She is on the left and the client is on the right). The second volunteer I met was Mel and he has been volunteering with Meals on Wheels for 17 years. Mel really knows his way around downtown Baltimore, and was able to efficiently take us to each and every client with no problems. He was always cracking jokes and really made the experience more enjoyable. Mel has also been known to bring in his guitar and play a song or two for the volunteers and staff!
Mel and Gloria volunteer every Tuesday morning and have their own little party in the conference room. They’re always having more fun than anyone else, and they just love to crack jokes and enjoy visiting with each other before heading out on their route. On this particular day, Mel and Gloria had eight clients to deliver food and smiles to, and they both knew exactly what to expect when going to each client’s door. Gloria takes the food into the clients and Mel drives the car. Each client we visited had their own routine with the food and volunteer visit. Gloria knew if the client would be home or if they might be resting. Some of the clients were unable to come to the door, so Gloria had a key to let herself in. On those occasions, she would announce “Meals on Wheels” a few times so they wouldn’t be alarmed. Although there were a few clients that came to the door and chatted with us for a bit, most of the time we would just put the meals in the refrigerator and move on to the next client.
Having been on the same route for so many years, Mel and Gloria know exactly what to do and they know how to respond to their clients. They know what their clients like or dislike and which clients like more personal interaction. Each and every client that I met was so grateful for the company and, of course, the nutritious meals.
Going along on a volunteer route really allowed me to fully understand how Meals on Wheel is “more than a meal” to not only seniors but to homebound individuals in my community.
So, here’s my challenge to you; the readers: the next time you go to purchase your coffee or favorite beverage, why not save that money for an entire week and instead make a donation to Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland? Donating is easy and can be done quickly on-line. Just click here.
And, if you or someone you know that may have an hour of free time during the day or during the week, ask them to become a Meals on Wheels volunteer.
After the experience I had following Mel and Gloria on a route, there really is nothing better than bringing a smile to someone’s face; especially when they are homebound!
Contact Volunteer Services to learn more about volunteering, please click here.
(Pictured above: Gloria, Meals on Wheels volunteer (left) and a client.)
VOLUNTEERS HELP TO KEEP OUR WHEELS SPINNING!
POSTED ON AUGUST 4, 2014 BY VOLUNTEER SERVICES
For many, the most iconic image they associate with Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is a cheerful volunteer taking our meals to a client’s door. The smiling face and the caring hands that give our clients their food is part of what makes us “more than a meal.” However, with several hundred volunteers giving their time willingly each day, it is no secret that volunteering with Meals on Wheels is also “more than just a volunteer opportunity!” From meal packing to delivery, volunteers have many different chances to get involved, and there is something for everyone.
Take, for example, a group that frequently volunteers in our kitchen as a part of a program called “Workwise.” Any group of ten or less can volunteer to pack meals Monday through Friday in our central kitchen, but this Workwise group is very special. Each participant in this program is a recent refugee, going through classes to learn English as well as skills that will help them work in the United States. Baltimore City Community College and Lutheran Social Services partnered together to create this chance to learn technical skills, basic English and numeracy skills, as well as key workplace values.
Since 2013, Workwise has volunteered over 3,500 hours at organizations like Meals on Wheels in the Baltimore area. When it comes to Meals on Wheels, students have been able to gain experience in the skills our kitchen staff utilize every day, and they can take these skills with them to their new lives after graduating from the program. But, in the end, what we can provide for them does not compare to what they provide for us, as they help to make Meals on Wheels “more than a meal!”
To learn more about becoming a volunteer as an individual or with a group, please contact Volunteer Services at 443-573-0926 or by clicking here.
“CLIENT SERVICES INTERNSHIPS - ANOTHER SPOKE IN OUR WHEEL OF SUCCESS”
POSTED ON July 1, 2014 FRom STACY PAYTON, METRO REGIONAL MANAGER
Our work environment at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is extremely busy, but very rewarding! And, for students that complete an internship with my colleagues in Client Services or any another department, we offer the opportunity to obtain excellent, real world experience, while making an extremely important difference in the lives of both our senior and homebound neighbors.
Since Meals on Wheels is committed to ensuring that every intern receive the kind of experience critical to their personal development, career building and networking skills, my colleagues view each and every internship as slightly different and unique and tailored to the specific need of the intern.
The Client Services team has had over 108 interns since we started our specific program in 2010. Schools include (but are not limited to): University of Maryland, UMBC, Bowie State University, Sojourner Douglass College, Johns Hopkins University, Towson University, Goucher College & Coppin College. Many of our interns have continued on successful careers path in social work, continuing graduate studies and more. And, a few of our interns have become full-time staff members.
Below is one such story by Elizabeth Sebastiao, Client Liasion/Metro Region:
I started volunteering in the summer of 2012 for Meals on Wheels solely because I wanted to stay busy, but it definitely turned into so much more! Coming to Meals on Wheels was a distraction for me and was almost like therapy during some hard times for me and my family. The amount of kindness that I felt from everyone at Meals on Wheels was so strong that I decided to stay in the fall to complete 209 hours for my internship for the Management of Aging Services major at UMBC.
My internship experience was well rounded and included: conducting home assessment visits, client intake, phone assessments and, most importantly, allowed me to witness firsthand how thankful the clients were for all the services that Meals on Wheels provides on a daily basis.
When my internship ended, I continued to come into the office to volunteer and within a couple weeks I was offered the position of Client Liaison, which was a newly created position. I gladly accepted the position and have been a “spoke in the wheel” ever since!
To learn more about potential internship opportunities in the Client Services department, please contact Barbara Levin at email@example.com or at 443-573-0946.
Next month, learn more about our individual and group volunteer opportunities and their impact on our program and services. Until then…stay cool!
“ADD MORE VEGETABLES TO YOUR DAY!”
POSTED ON Feb 25, 2014 FRom kathy tinker, food service director
It’s easy to eat more vegetables! Eating vegetables provides nutrients vital for health and maintenance of your body. Research shows that the nutrients and minerals found in vegetables may reduce the risk of certain diseases, increase brain power, and are low in fat and calories!
Here are some fun facts and simple ways to fit more vegetables in your meals. It’s easier than you think!
- Brighten your salad by using colorful vegetables such as red bell peppers, black beans, radishes, and cucumbers and carrots.
- Celery contains around 10 calories -- it takes more calories to eat a stalk of celery than it contains, which makes it a great snack for losing weight fast!
- Try different spices, seasonings and flavored oils when cooking vegetables for tasty varieties.
- Tomatoes that are stored at room temperatures are more flavorful and nutrient filled than those stored in the refrigerator.
- Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to use and are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables. Try adding frozen cauliflower, spinach, or sugar snap peas to your favorite dishes.
- Most of us do not know that the top green leaves of the beets are edible and they are the most nutritious part of beets. We can boil the leaves lightly and eat.
- Canned vegetables are a great addition to any meal, so keep on hand canned tomatoes, mushrooms, and beets. Select those labeled as “reduced sodium”,” low sodium” or “no salt added”.
Stir Fry Asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup sweet onions
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 teaspoons of teriyaki sauce
1. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onions until tender. Stir in asparagus and garlic, sauté for 3-5 minutes. Drizzle with teriyaki sauce and serve immediately.
“NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS”
POSTED ON Jan 27, 2014 FRom STEPHANIE ARCHER-SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Freedom. It's a powerful word, yet one that is so often taken for granted. People live for it, people fight for it, and people are willing to die for it.
This month with the celebration of Martin Luther King’s life we are reminded of just how important freedom is. Important, yet taken for granted; that is, until we no longer have it.
Although January is coming to a close, my reflection on the new year, with all it's hopefulness and renewed energy, lingers and the thought of freedom keeps seeping back into my psyche.
Freedom is worth protecting; people dedicate, and at y times sacrifice their lives for it.But what does that have to do with me? I live in a free country; I have the freedom to live my life as I choose. Then it comes to me...What if, like so many of those we serve at Meals on Wheels, my freedom to choose how and where to live my life were threatened?
Would I, would anyone, be willing to fight to preserve that freedom to choose?
So this year, I resolve to protect the freedom of our elderly neighbors -- the freedom to choose to remain living at home in familiar surroundings and neighborhoods, where they can continue to be part of the social fabric of that community.
I resolve to protect their freedom to make their own life choices in their own time and on their own terms.
To do this, our Board, staff and volunteers will work hard to:
- Truly live our mission
- Examine our programs and activities, thoughtfully to improve service
- Be prudent with our financial resources, looking not only to immediate need but also to our long-term health
- Communicate our goals, priorities, and achievements to all of our stakeholders
- Find new ways to engage and recruit volunteers to help us carry out our mission
- Dedicate time to advocacy and coalition-building.
- Recognize and actively engage those who support us in our work
- And we will remember to pace ourselves, making decisions thoughtfully, and changes incrementally.
We look forward to challenging ourselves in 2014 as we continue to be “more than a meal” to the elderly population in Central Maryland.
Happy New Year!
“HEALING MEALS, HELPING HANDS”
POSTED ON DEC 19, 2013 FROM MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS
When Debbie Brown (Meals on Wheels) and Cindy Carter (The Cancer Support Foundation) attended an outreach event last November, they couldn’t believe that their paths hadn’t crossed sooner.
Cindy is an incredible advocate for cancer patients throughout Maryland and one area of concerned for her was making sure her clients were receiving proper nutrition during their treatments along with their family members; when needed. “She (Debbie) was the key to what I had been looking for,” said Cindy Carter, Executive Director, Cancer Support Foundation. The two spent time that day talking about what type of program the two non -profits could create. Debbie couldn’t wait to get back to the office and share the news since Meals on Wheels had recently discussed the idea of starting a frozen meal program.
Meetings were set up between Meals on Wheels and the Cancer Support Foundation and Cindy was able to introduce another important player to the proposed program: Franklin Square Hospital. Toni Gianforti, Meals on Wheels grant writer, secured a grant from the Komen Foundation and another Komen grant was awarded to Cindy’s group. Franklin Square Hospital introduced another partner to the program: Kelly’s Dream. And,
And, now that all the players were in place, a program was created: Healing Meals, Helping Hands.
Today, Meals on Wheels serves 12 breast cancer patients that have been referred to the Healing Meals, Helping Hands program via Franklin Square Hospital. The Komen Foundation grant allows up to 200 breast cancer patients to be assisted.
Frozen, nutritious meals are delivered by Meals on Wheels drivers right to the patients door with a friendly visit. Meals are delivered weekly, bi-weekly or bi-monthly and a variety of menus are offered.
For more information about the Healing Meals program, please contact Ms. Bunny Ebling, Franklin Square Hospital at 443-777-7395.
Click here to read a story on the program featured on Channel 2 on December 18: http://www.abc2news.com/dpp/news/region/baltimore_city/komen-md-gives-grants-to-help-breast-cancer-patients-with-emergency-services
“ISOLATION REDUCTION PROGRAM”
POSTED ON Oct 22, 2013 FROM THE DESK OF BARBARA LEVIN, CLIENT SERVICES DIRECTOR
Human contact is invaluable: a kind word, a smiling face to greet us in the morning and/or someone to share the joys and struggles of life with. Can you imagine what it would be like to go through one day after another, week after week, month after month, with only the TV and four walls as your companions? Unfortunately, this is the case for many of our clients.
Nearly a quarter of the clients at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM) have no family or friends to visit with them. No one they can count on to pick up bread, cheese, juice or personal hygiene items or reminisce about old times or even a simple birthday wish. Imagine being 90 years old and having no one you could ask how to use that newest feature on the television or to help understand what the fine print of the latest bill really says! It truly breaks our heart to realize just how many of our clients have limited or no contact with anyone but the Meals on Wheels volunteer who delivers their meal each day. So, we, at Meals on Wheels, are determined to address the needs of our most isolated clients through our isolation reduction plan.
The IRP (Isolation Reduction Plan) is for clients without family or other support networks to that a “lifeline” can be provided to the individual. When a client is placed into the IRP program, MOWCM staff identify appropriate adult day care programs and senior centers, churches and synagogues as well as making attempts to reconnect with family and friends. We also look at various transportation modules (mobility transportation, etc.) to assist the client in getting to and from the identified visit or activity.
But, perhaps the best way we reduce isolation for our clients on a daily basis, is through our own in-house volunteer programs. The Volunteer Shopper/Volunteer Companion programs pairs isolated clients with a dedicated volunteer to assist the client with shopping or regular in-person or telephone weekly visits. We also offer a Kibble Connection program where volunteers pack and deliver pet food to clients; ensuring that our clients are able to keep their beloved animals even when money becomes tight. And, our unique peer-to-peer Phone Pals program recognizes that our clients still have a great deal to give to society, so our Client Services team carefully connects selected clients and volunteers who talk to each other on a regular basis allow the volunteer to provide encouragement, friendship, warmth and understanding.
The Isolation Reduction Program offers hope, joy and, more importantly to our clients, a connection to the world around them. Personally, I want to grow old surrounded by family and friends as well as those that I trust and rely upon. I invite you to join me, and the rest of the Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland team, as we make every effort to make sure that our homebound seniors and disabled neighbors have that, too.
To learn more about the Isolation Reduction Program, please call toll-free: 1-866-558-0827 and ask to speak to a member of the Client Services team. And, to learn more about becoming a volunteer, please contact Volunteer Services at 443-573-0926 or by clicking here.
“NO PLACE LIKE HOME”
POSTED ON SEPT 11, 2013 FROM THE DESK OF DEBBIE BROWN, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland has been providing nutritious meals to homebound seniors and individuals in Central Maryland since 1960. Each day we are reminded in so many ways that there really is no place like home. Just ask Norma. At 85 years young, Norma loves painting and drawing, especially with oils, and she surrounds herself with them in the living room of her modest apartment. Norma has lived a full and exciting life, but sadly she has outlived her family and her savings.
Norma’s story defines what it means to Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland to be “more than a meal.” Norma is just one of thousand of seniors who depend on nutritious meals, companionship and support services provide by Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland every day in order to remain living safely and independently in their own homes.
Surprisingly, while Maryland ranks 35th in the nation overall for food insecurity, we are 8th when it comes to senor food insecurity and nutrition. Every day our dedicated staff, volunteers, donors and community partners work together to deliver nutritious meals, and so much more to our most vulnerable seniors. They offer safety, security, companionship and hope.
In 2012, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland prepared and delivered nearly 700,000 nutritious meals to seniors in our community. More than 2,000 dedicated volunteers drove 693,676 miles in that effort, a distance equal to 28 times around the earth!
While these numbers are impressive, it is the stories behind the numbers that are truly inspiring, stories of dedication and commitment, of generosity, and stories of hope.
For those seniors who are struggling with hunger, it often means choosing between paying for medications or eating, or paying the electric bill or eating. These are trade-offs that no one should have to make, especially our most vulnerable seniors.
Of those receiving Meals on Wheels (on a national level):
- The majority are women who are over 75 and live alone;
- 63% have between 6 to 15 serious health conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, arthritis, and diabetes;
- 61% take between 6 to 26 medications; and,
- 39% live in poverty.(1)
The profile of those seniors who are able to make it out of their home and into a congregate setting, such as a senior center, is slightly better:
- The majority are also women who are over the age of 75 and nearly 40% live alone;
- 40% have between 6 to 15 serious health conditions, such as those listed above;
- 31% take between 6 to 26 medications;
- 26% live in poverty; and,
- 72% need help going outside. (2)
For both Meals on Wheels and congregate meal recipients, an overwhelming majority need help bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, and managing their medications. On top of these sad realities, many of the basic necessities of daily life that we take for granted every day, such as interacting with others and having access to nutritious food, are simply not options.
And, we are merely scratching the surface on meeting the needs of this growing population. Since the onset of the recession, the number of seniors struggling with hunger has increased in 44 states.(3) Nationally, there are 8.3 million seniors(4) currently struggling with hunger and nationally we are providing nutritious meals to only 2.5 million.(5) The difference in those numbers is devastating—nearly 6 million American seniors are still in need of reliable, nutritious meals. While the infrastructure exists to fill that gap, the resources are falling substantially short.
The demographic swing to an aging population is already in motion. Baby Boomers are turning 60 at a rate of 12,000 a day. By 2030, the senior population will double to over 70 million.(6) If one in seven seniors today is struggling with hunger, it is hard to imagine 10 million seniors struggling with hunger in just 17 years.
We, at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, are so grateful for the generosity of so many who help make it possible for us to tell these stories and allow us to fulfill our mission: to enable people to live independently at home through the provision of nutritious meals, personal contact and related services. Because, after all, there is no place like home.
* This blog was originally posted on http://www.disruptivewomen.net.
“MORE THAN A MEAL: SNAP PROGRAM”
POSTED ON JULY 2, 2013 FROM THE DESK OF BARBARA LEVIN, CLIENT SERVICES DIRECTOR
Here’s an alarming fact: The majority of senior citizens who qualify for food stamps, never apply for them. Even if they’re hungry. Even if they have to fill up on starches and skip the healthier foods they should be eating. Even if they have to turn the thermostat way, way down, or skip doses of their medicine because they need to spend the little money they have on food. That goes for Meals on Wheels clients too.
Why don’t they apply? Some don’t know about the program or think they don’t qualify. (Many spent their younger years solidly middle class, and only now in their old age find themselves struggling to make ends meet on fixed incomes.) Some find the process of applying just too overwhelming. Others find it just too embarrassing to admit they now have needs.
Whatever the reason, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is determined to help. Recently, our agency was designated a Community Partner through the Maryland State FSP Outreach Plan, and funded to reach out to our homebound clients with information about, and assistance in applying for, food stamps (now called SNAP – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). Volunteers and staff are being asked to broach the topic with each and every client we serve.
Did you know that single individuals receiving up to $931 per month and married couples receiving up to $1281 a month may qualify for food stamps? Or that the average food stamps benefit for a senior living alone was $122? Or that seniors who spend more than $35 a month in out-of-pocket medical costs can deduct that from their income when applying for food stamps, increasing their monthly benefit?
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland is committed to making a difference. We accept food stamps in payment for our meals, and our staff is ready to assist clients in applying for, or recertifying for, food stamps. We’ll even go to a client’s home to help complete the application if need be.
I’m looking forward to a future, where all of our clients can access the food and other things they need and deserve.
To learn more about Meals on Wheels Senior Support Services, click here, or call (410) 558-0827 or 1-(866) 558-0827 TOLL FREE.
Barbara Levin, Client Services Director, will be writing a four-part series blog on "More than a Meal," which highlights the additional services that Meals on Wheels provides our homebound seniors.
“MORE THAN A MEAL: CASE MANAGEMENT”
POSTED ON JUNE 10, 2013 FROM THE DESK OF BARBARA LEVIN, CLIENT SERVICES DIRECTOR
One of the most exciting things going on at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland these days is our new targeted case management program.
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland clients have so many needs beyond nutrition. I can't tell you how many times our client services staff has received a call or a note from a volunteer telling us about a serious problem they discovered while delivering meals.
We've learned of clients being abused or exploited. We've discovered clients living in homes without electricity or heat. We've found clients who can’t afford life sustaining medicines and medical care. Some of the saddest situations we encounter are those that involve seriously depressed clients confiding that they are seriously considering taking their own lives.
The list just goes on and on. Clients facing foreclosure, clients with no food other than the meals we deliver, clients with pets that are defecating in the house because they can’t get out to walk them, clients who can’t walk who are stuck on upper floors of apartment buildings that lack elevators, clients with dementia who are unable to take care of even their most basic needs, clients who never see anyone at all other than the volunteer who delivers their meal.
The targeted case management program makes an incredible difference for clients facing complex and challenging problems, and especially for clients without family or friends to help them search out solutions, or for those with family members who are overwhelmed by the challenges.
Clients are referred into the program by observant volunteers or staff members. Case managers follow up with home visits, carefully evaluating each participant’s specific needs, and designing individually tailored plans to address them.
Our case managers help clients find critical resources and help them manage the complexities of applying for them. They work with adult protective services, police, and even the courts, to address issues of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Case managers create isolation reduction plans, work with families, address housing issues, and provide critical information and emotional support.
Our clients need so much, and so many have no one else that can help them; we’re proud to say we’re meeting their needs, and keeping them living successfully in the community.
To learn more about Meals on Wheels Senior Support Services, click here, or call (410) 558-0827 or 1-(866) 558-0827 TOLL FREE.
Barbara Levin, Client Services Director, will be writing a four-part series blog on "More than a Meal," which highlights the additional services that Meals on Wheels provides our homebound seniors. July will highlight SNAP (food stamp program).
“SEQUESTRATION AND SENIOR NUTRITION”
Posted on May 7, 2013 by Meals on Wheels STAFF
More than eight million seniors nationwide face the threat of hunger every day. Now, due to sequestration, funding for senior nutrition has been reduced.
Maryland will lose nearly $900,000 in funding to senior nutrition programs, which will cause our organization to have to make some changes; such as reducing meal service from five days to four. Reducing the number of meals reduces the nutrient intake for a population of people for whom proper nutrition is critical to maintaining health and independence and avoiding premature institutionalization.
"They are not going to be healthy, they are not going to be getting food to take their medication with," said Stephanie Archer-Smith, Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland (MOWCM).
Due to the cuts, we have also unfortunately reduced our workforce by five percent.
Our organization delivers nearly 1,500 meals every day and relies strongly on our volunteers. Currently, we have 2,263 volunteers; of which 300-325 are used on any given day. Last year, the volunteers donated over 93,000 hours and drove more than 693,000 miles (28x around the Earth).
To learn more about the effects of sequestration on Meals on Wheels, watch Fox 45 Baltimore: http://foxbaltimore.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/meals-wheels-program-affected-sequester-19354.shtml
“WELCOME TO THE NEW MEALS ON WHEELS WEBSITE!”
Posted on March 28, 2013 by Jonathan Wachs, President, Board of Directors
We are happy to announce the launch of the new and dynamic Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland website. This product is the result of an extensive collaboration between our staff and our web site vendor, Blackbaud. This website will greatly improve the way we connect with our clients, volunteers, donors and the public. Please tell your friends to visit the site – and let us know what you think.
Our new website is both visually appealing and highly functional. New features on the website make it easy for visitors to sign up to receive meals, volunteer or donate. The website allows visitors to easily change the font size of the site’s content. It also includes a complete interface re-design, rotating feature photos and a platform for secure online donations. The volunteer section of the website provides information on various volunteer opportunities for individuals, groups and businesses. The web site also includes information regarding special events, our bi-annual newsletter, Meal Times, and a blog which features updates from various departments, regional managers, volunteers, and our community partners. The website is a key component in our overall strategy to improve the ways in which we serve Maryland’s homebound population.
We hope you find our new website has a fresh look, is easy to use and is informative. Please send any feedback you have regarding the website to Deb Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, please “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and visit the website periodically for updates regarding our progress, articles, industry news and other helpful resources. Thanks for taking the time to visit our website and your interest in our organization. Our success relies on your support!