Picture yourself at home, alone. Because of your failing eyesight, you can’t drive. From time to time, your arthritis is so painful you can’t get out of bed. Your spouse of 57 years has passed away. Your children live in three different states, with the closest being 750 miles away.
Since your spouse passed away, you’ve been doing the best you can with the help of friends and neighbors, and the volunteers at Lend A Hand are wonderful about taking you to doctor visits and helping with errands.
Yet, on far too many days, every task you try is such a chore that it’s difficult to muster the strength to even cook a meal.
This is a situation faced by many folks right here in Boulder City. Maybe you don’t see these people, but they are here among us, trying to live at home and remain somewhat independent.
The Senior Center of Boulder City provides one solution for these folks through the homebound meal program.
Before I go on, I want you to know that I am the president of the board of the Senior Center. I want you to know about the homebound meal program at the center.
Some of you might consider this a commercial, and if you think I’m giving publicity to this program, I am.
The reason for the commercial is because I was contacted the other day by Lori DeCreny, the center’s executive director. She said, “The situation with volunteers for our homebound meal program is now dire.”
DeCreny told me and the other board members, “We have lost eight volunteers within the last two weeks, some permanently, others due to vacations or illness. Without volunteers to deliver meals to our homebound individuals, there will be a number of seniors who have no hot meals and no one to do a welfare check.”
This program is vital to a number of seniors in Boulder City. Here are some facts.
Since October, the Senior Center volunteers have delivered 10,107 meals to 92 different folks in Boulder City. That accounts for a meal every day. If folks request two frozen meals on Friday to get them through the weekend, those are delivered as well. Every six months, volunteers also deliver two “emergency shelf stable meals” so folks have something on hand.
Thirty-nine of the folks served were over age 85. Twenty-eight folks are between 75 and 84, and 25 people between 60 and 74.
The Senior Center’s homebound meal program provides nutritious meals to seniors who are at least 60 years old, homebound or disabled, and cannot come to the center for lunch.
The program is the only one in the state of Nevada that relies on all volunteer drivers to deliver the meals. The program is partially funded by a grant from the state of Nevada’s Aging and Disability Services Division, and an outside funding agency grant from Clark County. The center is reimbursed $2.65 per meal with the remainder being paid by the Senior Center, which operates on donations and city funding.
To be a part of this program, a person needs only to qualify with a referral from a doctor, hospital, social worker, caregiver, therapist, family member, neighbor or friend. Once a person is referred, a staff member will visit the home and evaluate the person’s needs.
In case you haven’t guessed by now, this is an urgent plea for volunteer drivers so that the homebound meal program can continue to serve our neighbors. Being a volunteer doesn’t take much time because most volunteers drive one route only one day per week. We’re talking about helping for an hour or so once a week.
Because volunteers go into a person’s home, a background check is required. A copy of a valid driver’s license, current proof of insurance and vehicle registration for the car you use to deliver meals is also required.
Think for a moment how you would feel if you were homebound. Put yourself in your neighbor’s place.
Please call the Senior Center at 293-3320 and volunteer a little bit of time to make a big difference in a neighbor’s life.
Rose Ann Miele is a journalist and was public information officer for Boulder City for nine years. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 347-9924.