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Turned down by Meals on Wheels and looking for help


Question: I don't have a question but I do have a comment. My 61 year old husband has fourth stage Early-Onset Parkinson's Disease, Macular Degeneration, Diabetes type 2, Postural Hypotension & Torsion Dystonia. I am his caregiver. We get one hour a day from a personal support worker. We were turned down by Meals on Wheels. We asked if they could deliver lunch to my husband and said we were more than happy to pay for it. It would be a huge help so I could be away at lunch time doing the groceries, banking, etc. They said because I can cook we weren't eligible!

Dr. Amy: It sounds like your husband needs a lot of care. And since this falls mostly to you, you have a lot on your plate. I am sure there are many days you feel completely overwhelmed. I am so glad that you are reaching out for help.

With so many people needing assistance, I believe many Meals on Wheels focus their services on people who cannot shop or cook for themselves. Our population is aging and there are more and more people needing assistance, and fewer volunteers. Funding cutbacks in some areas are also a factor. This is small comfort to you, I know, but I encourage you not to give up. What can you do differently at home, and where else might you turn for help?

You mention that you would be happy to pay to have lunch delivered. If that is the case, I wonder if you might open an account with a nearby restaurant that you trust, or a local catering company. Can you ask a neighbor to help (take lunch over there on your way out—something that just needs to be heated up—and have your neighbor bring it over at lunch time)? Do you live near a school? Might a responsible high school student be willing to come over at lunch time to heat and serve lunch? Maybe a combination of these might work.

Caregiving is a marathon, not a sprint, as I am sure you know. It’s important for you to take time for yourself, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep and exercise. That way, you will have the energy and resilience to keep going and care for your husband.  Good luck!


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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. October 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Posted by Brenda P

    That is not a helpful answer. It appears to be written by someone without experience in this area. Instead, perhaps you can find others in the area in the same position as you and trade services. Possibly you could hire a counselor-recommended high school or college student to help after school. How about hiring a retiree to help? You cannot depend on stay-at-home neighbors. That is highly unfair and hardly viable, unles you are willing to pay and they are willing to accept. Do ask your doctor and/or personal health insurance company for other suggestions, or call 211 for local services. Hang in there!


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