When to Make a Referral

It seems that we always get more referrals this time of year – the weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year. We attribute it to younger family members seeing their aging parents or grandparents, and realizing their loved one could benefit from home delivered meals.

Mayo Clinic has a good article “Aging Parents: 7 warning signs of health problems” that provides useful suggestions and action steps for those who are starting to care for aging family members or friends. Below is a quick overview:

1. Are your aging parents taking care of themselves. We, including our volunteers, pay attention to our clients’ appearance – has there been a change in how they’re caring for themselves and their home? Is there heat? Is the yard overgrown? Are they able to clear snow/ice from their driveway and stairs to the house?

2. Are your aging parents experiencing memory loss? We all occasionally forget things. But there’s a difference between normal memory loss and that associated with types of dementia. Misplaced keys, glasses, and other items are “normal’. Getting lost in familiar neighborhoods is more concerning.

3. Are your aging parents safe in their home?

4. Are your aging parents safe on the road?

5. Have your aging parents lost weight? Weight loss can be attributed to difficulty cooking, loss of taste/smell or underlying health conditions such as depression, malnutrition, or cancer.

6. Are your aging parents in good spirits? What is their mood like? Have there been any changes? Depression and anxiety are not part of normal aging; they can be treated at any age.

7. Are your aging parents able to get around? Are they unsteady on their feet? Is it difficult for them to use stairs? Have they decreased their physical activity?

Programs like Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels can help if your loved one is having difficulty preparing meals due to physical and emotional health problems. The visit by the volunteer who delivers the meal also serves as a wellness or safety check. We contact you if there concerns and can make referrals for support services.

For more information about eligibility visit http://www.med.umich.edu/aamealsonwheels/mealmakereferal.html.

October is Health Literacy Month

By Cyndi Lieske and Beth Adams

Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

People with limited health literacy are more likely to have chronic conditions, are less likely to effectively manage their health and tend to have higher health care costs. Nearly 9 out of 10 adults have difficulty using basic health information. Challenges include:

  • Navigating the health care system, including filling out complex forms and finding a health care provider;
  • Understanding test results such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels;
  • Choosing between health plans and comparing prescription drug coverage;
  • Sorting through large amounts of health information, including separating myths from facts;
  • Managing chronic diseases, such as knowing the symptoms of low blood sugar AND how to correct it; and
  • Knowing what each medication is for and taking the right medicine at the right time.

Health literacy challenges are greater for older adults than younger populations. They have more chronic illnesses and use health care services at higher rates. Limitations of physical and/or cognitive functioning add another layer of difficulty. Even mild vision and hearing loss can make it difficult to process information that is otherwise understandable.

How health care providers present information, availability of culturally appropriate information, the environment in which it’s presented and are significant, contributing factors to health literacy.

Knowing how to talk with your doctor and other health care staff is one part of health literacy. Here are some ideas to help you communicate:

  • Write down your questions before your appointment. Record their responses.
  • Write down new information from your doctor and their staff. Ask them to repeat and further explain if it is not clear to you.
  • Ask clarifying questions or statements such as “So since this new pill is twice the strength, I just need to take 1 pill rather than 2. Correct?”
  • It’s okay to say you don’t understand something! Let your doctor and others know that you do not understand what they are telling you. Health care providers are often rushed and use a lot of medical terminology. Background noise can also make it difficult to process what is being said. Ask your doctor, nurse, pharmacist and others to use plain, non-medical words.
  • Get a phone number for the nurse or clinic, so you can call with questions you think of after you have left or if you have forgotten something.
  • Volunteer to go with a friend or loved one to their next medical appointment. Help them take notes and ask questions.

http://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/pdf/olderadults.pdf
http://www.ahrq.gov/news/columns/navigating-the-health-care-system/090710.html
http://www.health.gov/communication/literacy/quickguide/Quickguide.pdf

Make a Difference…Volunteer!

126015675Volunteers are the backbone of Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels. Not only do Volunteers deliver meals to the homebound in our community, they also provide companionship and a warm, friendly smile. Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels Volunteers may be the only person a client sees all day. The meals you deliver are the primary source of nutritious food for most of our clients.

Summer is hard for the program because school is out and volunteers take vacations. Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels has also lost volunteers because of their advancing age and this will continue as our population ages.

Why Volunteer?
• Connect to your community. The simple act of offering your 1-2 hours of your time and compassion positively impacts the daily lives of those in need, as well as your own.
• Engaging in service to others is an invaluable experience.
• Be a force for social change and an inspiration to others.
• At risk and elderly community members will eat because of you.

40thMealsOnWheels_logoWe need YOU!
Volunteers of all ages to deliver meals to the homebound in the Ann Arbor area. Drivers must be at least 18 years or older and able to use their personal vehicles to deliver meals. Persons under 18 can volunteer if accompanied by an adult.

We offer flexible scheduling.
You can choose:
1) the day – Monday to Saturday, and
2) the frequency – weekly, biweekly, or monthly.

We deliver meals 6 days a week.
Mon – Fri: Meal pick-up at 11:30am.
Sat (Jan – Aug): Meal pick-up at 10:30am.
Sat (Sept – Dec): Meal pick-up at 9:30am.
Average delivery of meals takes 1 – 2 hours.

“I would have a hard time continuing to live in my house. Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels helps very much to make it possible. Thank you.” — Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels client

Interested? Contact us! Please feel free to call (734) 998-6686 or send an email to aamealsonwheels@umich.edu.

Join Us at Metzger’s German Restaurant (June 18)

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Metzger's June 2014 Feast - vertical

See you at the 2014 Senior Living Week Expo!

We are very excited for the 2014 Senior Living Week Expo on Friday, May 2nd at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest (1275 S. Huron, Ypsilanti) and we hope you are too! Don’t forget to stop by our table and say hello – we’d love to meet you and tell you all about Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels!

Below is a flyer of the workshops that will take place at the Expo, as well as a workshop registration form. If you have any questions about the Expo workshops or any of the workshops that will take place during Senior Living Week (May 2 – 10), please don’t hesitate to contact De Bora McIntosh at the Housing Bureau for Seniors at (734) 998-9338.

Expo Schedule

Workshop Registration_Page_2 Workshop Registration_Page_1

Support Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels – Sponsor the Judy Fike Golf Outing

We need your help! In your own neighborhood a homebound older adult needs food. You can make a difference by sponsoring the 2014 Judy Fike Golf Outing to benefit Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels. We are asking for your support.

The outing will take place on Monday, July 14, 2014 at Reddeman Farms in Chelsea. Last year, we raised funds to pay for over 4,100 meals! This year, our goal is to have 128 golfers and raise $30,000.

How you can help:

  • We have several opportunities for you to sponsor this event. Our sponsorship levels reflect that every $6 pays for a meal. Click here for the Sponsorship Forms outlining the options and benefits of your contribution.
  • Our golfers would also be delighted with any donated items for our raffle, door prizes, and silent auction. We make sure that all our golfers leave with a door prize!

40thMealsOnWheels_logoWe’re turning 40 this year! Since 1974, Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels has reduced hunger and food insecurity and promoted the dignity and independence of the homebound in our community. Six days a week we deliver nutritiously balanced meals to those who, because of their health, are unable to shop or cook for themselves. We are a community-supported program of the University of Michigan Health System and about half of our revenue comes from external sources. Your sponsorship is crucial to our continuing to feed the homebound.

Please join us to help provide much needed nutrition for our homebound clients.

On behalf of our staff, volunteers and the clients we serve, thank you.

2014 Golf Brochure-pg1

2 Million Meals…and Counting!

WOWZA! 2 million meals is a lot of meals delivered to the homebound in Washtenaw County. And the best part is that we know we’ve delivered a lot more than 2 million meals. We have delivered friendly smiles, caring hearts, and respect…and it shows. Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels opened its doors (as Motor Meals of Ann Arbor) in 1974. A partnership with the University of Michigan Hospital and Health Systems formed, followed by a name change to align with the national Meals on Wheels Association of America, and here we are today.

The experience of Meals on Wheels, both from the volunteer delivering hot and nutritious meals to the client receiving the care and the helping hand, is invaluable. Seeing clients’ faces light up when the volunteers arrive is pure joy. The relief and gratitude of family members who live far away and are unable to care for older family members as they might wish is palpable.

We are so very thankful to have reached this milestone and we couldn’t have done it without the generosity of our volunteers, staff, and donors.

Thank you!

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A Special Thanks to our Volunteers, Sponsors, and Donors

Every year on Thanksgiving, many people celebrate with a bounty of food. We take a moment to remember the things we are grateful for: our families, our home, our health, and anything else that fulfills our lives. In some cases, it gives us an opportunity to appreciate the things that we may normally take for granted during our busy, daily lives. But for Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels clients, the nutritious meals and visits they receive from us are appreciated every day.

Without Ann Arbor MOW and the people who support our program, many of our clients would not eat. Many would not have somebody to check in on them during the hot summers and the cold winters, and give them a friendly smile to let them know that someone cares. We at Ann Arbor MOW are grateful that we can provide this much needed service to our clients, and we are especially thankful to the staff, volunteers, and donors who make it happen.

Your generosity is more than a nice gesture, it is a life-saving act. Nothing illustrates that more than these words of gratitude from the very people you have touched:
− I don’t know what I’d do without you all. Such a very fine and life-saving program. I thank you all with a very full heart.
− I wouldn’t eat if it wasn’t for Meals on Wheels…may the lord bless all of you.
− The volunteers are excellent—caring, friendly, and very much appreciated by me.
− You’re there to help when I can’t help myself.
− You’re all angels at Meals on Wheels. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
− The meals are such a help for me and there is no telling you how much I appreciate this service. Thank you!
− Everything about it and the blessing of it and the friendly people [are what is most helpful]…God bless you all!

These are just a handful of things our clients say about our service. For all who are a part of the Meals on Wheels family, we thank you.

If you have not yet become involved with Ann Arbor MOW, consider joining our program. Whether through a modest monetary donation or a contribution of your time, your participation can change—and save—the lives of many.

One of the best ways to celebrate our blessings is to provide for someone else in need. It is a celebration that can happen throughout the year, one that is deeply appreciated by hundreds of people. Visit our website for information on how you can donate or volunteer at Ann Arbor MOW.

A Lion, Rubber Duckies and Baby Birds…Oh My!

Monday, July 16th dawned bright, sunny and warm. The weather reports all warned of extreme heat and humidity, but that didn’t stop the 128 golfers from arriving at Reddeman Farms in Chelsea, ready to knock out 18 holes in support of Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels!

It also didn’t stop the amazing crew of volunteers and staff from Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels and from Reddeman Farms arriving at dawn to set up the signs, arrange the raffle prizes and to make sure the water was chilling over ice.

Breakfast was perfect. The bagels from Barry Bagel’s in Westgate were still warm from the oven, and then the donuts, smelling of sugary-fried-dough-goodness, were delivered from Washtenaw Dairy. After noshing on these delicious goodies, the golfers quickly made their way out to their carts. The busy volunteers had arranged the goody bags and scorecards on each cart so all the golfers had to do was show up. Sound good so far? (Hint, come out and golf with us next year!)

Judy Fike and Patty McCarthy got things started with a bang. And then they were off! The day couldn’t have been better (ok, it could have been cooler and less humid). Everyone had a great time and enjoyed a beautiful day on a lovely golf course in support of a wonderful organization. This was the fourth year for the event, and over $21,000 dollars was raised, nearly doubling the amount raised in 2011! That translates into 3,500 meals! Great job everyone!

It may be too early to say this (and I may be on an emotional Olympic sport adrenaline rush)…but who thinks we can double that amount in 2013????

Thank you to all of our sponsors and donors! We could not have pulled off such a successful event without your help.

2012 “Tee it Up to Make a Difference” Sponsors and Donors

A HUGE Thank You to all of the volunteers and to the fabulous planning committee. Your dedication to the success of Ann Arbor Meals on Wheels is both humbling and inspiring.