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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Senior Meal Delivery Programs Provide a Way for Someone to Check on Seniors Who Live Alone

Carol Bradley Bursack, author of the nationally known book Minding Our Elders, writes on Feb. 4, 2008 at about "Caregiver Isolation: Don't Do It - Reach Our to Your Community!" The article describes a recent news item about a caregiver and her mother. The daughter died from a brain aneurism and the mother, who had Alzheimer's, evidently fell down the stairs, broke a hip, and lay there to die. They were not found for several days because they were so isolated. Many times adult children or relatives have mentioned to me that they signed up for Meals on Wheels or a Senior Nutrition Program that delivers meals so that someone would knock on the door once a day and check to see if everyone is OK.

Especially for a senior who lives alone, this can be an important safety measure. If there is no answer at the door when the meal is delivered, and there is no note on the door to explain why, then the meal delivery person reports this and authorities check to see why no one can answer the door.

Additionally, the meal delivery person visits for a moment and has an opportunity to see if a crisis is developing. For instance, if a senior lives alone and appears to be experiencing a new health difficulty, the meal delivery person can report this.

If there are no relatives close by, and if both the caregiver and the care-recipient are in frail health, having meals delivered Monday through Friday provides one way to check on them. Other ways include daily telephone calls from relatives, church members, or neighbors or members of a senior center who sometimes do this.

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