Having a hot meal every day shouldn’t be considered a luxury, but for some people, due to ill health and frailty, this ‘daily given’ isn’t always possible. There is however a service at hand that can deliver hot meals, and do so much more besides.
As we already know from our blog on Tuesday, Leeds City Council’s Community Meals team offer a service for people who want a hot meal but can’t always cook one for themselves. Yes the team provides tasty, nutritious meals delivered directly to the door, but at same time their regular visits mean they can check that the residents they serve are safe and well. Often, the Community Meals team call on the same people daily and in that time, they build a relationship; they come to know the people and the places where they live. All too quickly, the team are able to spot when something isn’t quite right; when someone doesn’t seem ‘quite themselves’. This is when their role becomes more than a meal service; this is when they can help people who may need it by alerting Adult Social Care or the emergency services for help. And there’s the sociable side too.
For some, living on your own is not always a choice and nor is feeling isolated. Bereavement, ill health and mobility can all factor in a complete or near-complete lack of contact with society, but even the briefest of visits can really make a difference to someone’s day. On Monday, Adult Social Care’s Executive Board Member, Councillor Adam Ogilvie supported the National Community Meals week by delivering a piping hot meal to Dorothy (Dot) Payne, aged 81 at her home in Beeston.
When we were there, Dot’s daughter Trish Forbes called in and we talked to her about what this service meant to them as a family:
“It’s real peace of mind to know that if I can’t get there, someone else will and she’ll get something to eat. To be honest, the people who deliver the meals are so jolly and good with her, it really lifts her day too. I don’t know how the staff are chosen but they are lovely people and my Mum really looks forward to them coming.”
Sadly, Dot lost her beloved husband George 4 years ago to cancer and, although she is visited by her daughter and has regular contact with her, she told us, “Cooking for one? I’m still not used to it and it is hard work because you do forget that there’s only you. Sometimes I can’t be bothered.”
Community Meals bring a two course meal to Dot a few times a week. This is what she had to say about the service:
“Times have changed. I grew up in a house with 13 children – it was quite a big family! At meals times, we couldn’t afford to be fussy, it was a case of eat whatever you were given, or do without. Now I have a choice from the menu and I really enjoy the meals I get, they’re tasty and filling. I get a warm dinner and a pudding all delivered to my door. I also really look forward to having a chat with John (Community Meals staff), because conversation costs nothing and it’s nice to see a familiar and friendly face.”
Councillor Ogilvie added:
“Every day we see the positive impact this service has on our citizens, and there’s so much more to it than ensuring that someone gets a warm meal. Although that is really important, it goes beyond a simple delivery service.
“We know that for some of the older people in our city, being alone and isolated can be associated with a reduced quality of life. It is services exactly like Community Meals in Leeds which offer the added benefit of social interaction and daily contact with a person; something that many of us take for granted. Yes, that regular visit does ensure people are getting healthy and nutritional meals but the Community Meals team also makes sure that people are safe. For people who live on their own and, for whatever reason, have families that can’t always visit, knowing someone will be round on a daily basis must surely give comfort to family and friends too.”
If you’re interested in receiving Community Meals or know someone who might, please read the information below.
- The service is available to anyone in Leeds who needs it; and you may be entitled to receive a subsidy if you are assessed as being unable to prepare a meal yourself.
- We can provide meals for as long as you need them. It may be you just need a few meals after a stay in hospital, or while family and friends are away, or you may require meals on a regular basis.
- Community Meals Leeds are not suitable for anyone who is unable to feed themselves without help. If you need information and advice on social care and assessments, please call 0113 222 4401.
To find out more, call Community Meals Leeds on 0113 247 8577 and find out how you or someone you care about can start receiving meals. The office is open Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.00pm.