Providing homebound elderly New Yorkers with daily nutrition and companionship is the most important aspect of our work — but it isn’t the only thing we do. Our aging initiatives connect our frail aged neighbors to vital services that help them live independently.
911 Emergency Phone Units
Citymeals received 1,000 emergency phone units – all generously donated by a New Yorker inspired to help his older neighbors because of his close relationship with his own grandfather. This device allows the user to call a 911 dispatcher directly in the event of an emergency. Partnering with case management agencies to identify our frailest meal recipients, those most at risk of falling, Citymeals has worked with our volunteers to install the devices in their homes.
Lydia, a 76-year-old Queens resident, has relied on Citymeals for home-delivered meals over the past three years. In early 2016, after falling in the apartment where she lives all by herself, Lydia was able to use her personal emergency response system and call for an ambulance immediately so she could receive the care she needed.
Oral Health Study
Advanced age puts many New Yorkers at risk for oral health problems. Some can’t chew food at all because they are missing teeth or have dentures that don’t fit properly. Citymeals worked with the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine to survey our meal recipients about their oral health.
Almost one third of participants in the study reported difficulty eating or other dental problems. In addition, the average time since their last dentist visit was over three years. Since the study’s conclusion, Colgate-Palmolive has generously donated toothbrushes and toothpaste to be delivered quarterly for all participating meal recipients. When we first assess homebound elderly New Yorkers’ eligibility to receive home-delivered meals, we now ask specific questions regarding oral health. We are continuing to work with the school on ways to improve dental care for our homebound elderly.
Elder Abuse & Alzheimer’s Disease Training
Our deliverers are sometimes the only people who see our frail aged neighbors on a regular basis. They become familiar with our meal recipients’ personalities and behaviors. Because of this, they are often the first to notice if something is wrong. To make the most of this relationship, meal delivery staff receive additional training on two serious concerns for the community we serve.
The Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at The Hebrew Home at Riverdale and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office taught staff to recognize the signs of elder abuse and how to report it.
We have also partnered with CaringKind to educate employees on the warning signs of this debilitating and widespread disease. These skills will empower our deliverers to serve the meal recipients they interact with every day more effectively.