This week, 7 – 11 November, is National Meals on Wheels week – a chance to celebrate our own Leeds City Council’s Meals on Wheels and take a look at this vital service which not only helps nourish the vulnerable and elderly within our communities with lovely meals but also helps them stay socially independent, and most importantly in their homes for longer.
Did you know the Leeds Meals on Wheels team deliver 350 meals per day, 365 days of the year including Christmas Day. That’s more hot meals in one day then most people have hot dinners in an entire year. And with this recent cold snap vitally important in helping older people stay well this winter.
So how does it work?
Customers choose menus from a wide range of traditional main courses and desserts. They can have a hot nutritious lunch and a sandwich for tea if wanted. A frozen meal service, where the customer heats up the meal themselves, is also available. Juice drinks are also available if wanted.
There is a choice of over 160 main meals and 70 sweets and puddings. All sorts of diets are catered for including Asian, Caribbean, kosher, vegetarian, diabetic and soft meals. Meals are delivered as often as you want – one day a week or every day and these can be delivered 365 days a year. Or just while you’re recovering from a stay in hospital and can’t cook for yourself for a while. Either hot from one of the special vehicles which reheat the meals on the way to them or from the bespoke frozen meals service every fortnight. Either way, customers have access to some great food which meets their cultural or medical dietary needs.
Mr and Mrs Lewis, both 78, have a meal delivered every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and they decided to sign up for the service.
Over 500 people in Leeds receive deliveries , the average age of a customer is 82 and the oldest is 103 and there is always room for more.
How do we sign up for Leeds meals on wheels?
People can self-refer to the service or access it through an approved care package. You can find out more about what the service offers here including costs.
But it’s more than just a food delivery service. When staff hand over the meals they also make safety and wellbeing checks. They make sure customers are warm and secure and that there is no evidence of uneaten foods from the previous day. As regular visitors staff can also be the first to notice any changes in appearance or mood. If a customer doesn’t answer the door as expected an alert is made with next of kin or neighbour.
The service provides peace of mind to many carers and relatives working or living away from Leeds.
So do you know someone who might benefit from Meals on Wheels?