PEACE OF MIND: Meals on Wheels volunteers Philip and Debbie Turner preparing the daily food drop with fresh ingredients
PEACE OF MIND: Meals on Wheels volunteers Philip and Debbie Turner preparing the daily food drop with fresh ingredients

‘It’s peace of mind’: Help for aged care wait list

INSIDE every Meals on Wheels carrier bag is a starter, main and dessert but the service is so much more than food, according to manager Margo Haks.

The Rockhampton Meals on Wheels deliveries are a social occasion and an opportunity for an extra set of eyes to do a welfare check on those receiving the meals.

“Because volunteers are going in each day it’s a peace of mind for families that people are going into the house to make sure they’re okay,” Mrs Haks said.

Through their regular encounters volunteers get to know the clients, which allows them to detect when they’re not quite right.

Staff member Caren McCusker said volunteers regularly got in touch with client’s family members when they worried for their health.

“They’ll say he didn’t look like wasn’t dressed properly or if they aren’t home they will call the family straight away,” Ms McCusker said.

Anyone is eligible to receive Meals on Wheels but recipients were commonly the elderly and those discharged from hospital.

Mrs Haks said seniors on the wait list for government support commonly received help from Meals on Wheels and the service bridged the gap in the aged care system.

“It’s just peace of mind for the families who can’t get there to check on them,” she said.

Meals on Wheels also service people with home care packages and those on the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Deliveries are available to those in Rockhampton and Gracemere.

The service has 110 volunteers delivering meals to clients but the organisation is always in need of more volunteers.

Volunteer Debbie Turner has been volunteering with her husband Philip for the past 12 months.

“I like it’s a service that keeps elderly people in their homes and I like seeing it’s actually fresh food,” Mrs Turner said.

The Turners initially delivered food to people in their homes but recently they moved to the kitchen.

She said clients were always so grateful to receive their food and it was lovely to talk to them.

Each day about 36 volunteers do 16 runs of deliveries and about six work in the kitchen to prepare the meals.