Meals and more on wheels

David Gibson packs his deliveries with Mayor Len Cox.

Yarra Ranges Council’s Meals on Wheels provides so much more than food.

The program helps recipients to stay healthy through nutrition-guaranteed meals and provides priceless social contact for the isolated.

Mayor Len Cox and Councillor Tony Stevenson met Meals on Wheels volunteers the council’s Lilydale depot on National Meals on Wheels Day, Wednesday 29 August.

They joined them on the road for their deliveries.

Rosemary and John Haysom from Mooroolbark learn a lot about the lives and families of those they deliver to.

“I think the important part is the contact,” John said.

“A lot of them are on their own.

“They don’t see anyone else.”

Rosemary got involved when she retired in 2003, and she and John both hit the road each Wednesday.

“It’s how we tell what day of the week it is!” John laughed.

David Gibson from Mooroolbark retired at 63 and started volunteering with Meals on Wheels to qualify for Newstart Allowance.

“I had friends who’d been involved with Meals on Wheels in Knox,” he said.

That was six years ago.

“At 65 I didn’t even bother stopping,” he said.

David enjoys meeting people.

“I know two or three people that I’m the only person they see,” he said.

The council’s service and quality co-ordinator Tania Larner said the program always needed new volunteers.

“But the biggest issue with our meals service is getting people to know about it and understand what our service is all about,” she said.

“They are so many meal services out there but they don’t cater for dietary requirements.”

Ms Larner said people aged 70-plus years needed three times the protein they did when they were younger.

She said not getting enough protein led to muscle-loss and can be a factor in dementia.

“So many elderly people are malnourished,” she said.

She said this could lead to falls and hospital admissions.

“If people are healthy and active, it’s priceless,” she said.

Prospective Meals on Wheels recipients must register with My Aged Care for assessment.