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Are the wheels falling off ‘meals on wheels’ for the elderly? This risks widespread malnutrition amongst this vulnerble group.

How can any County Council conceive of cutting or restricting community meals (previously called ‘meals on wheels’) for the vulnerable elderly up and down the country and still sleep at night?

According to our client, the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), a number of councils have already taken this draconian action. The vulnerable in Poole and Selby, to name just two towns at opposite ends of the country, are already suffering the consequences of local authority action. The elderly there have already been deprived of their hot meals and as a result will undoubtedly suffer malnutrition if something is not done about it.

A whole host of other councils are shortly to follow suit and are either cutting these services or hugely inflating the price of these vital meals (by as much as 75%) so the vulnerable elderly can no longer afford them. And the other approach is to raise the eligibility criteria so fewer elderly qualify.

This is likely to mean more people will become malnourished and the costs of caring for them are likely to increase in the long run. Research in Australia has shown that spending £1 on good nutrition is likely to save £5 on the health budget as care packages are reduced. Cameron and Clegg – are you listening?

And lets not forget … ‘meals on wheels’ are not just about ensuring this vulnerable group gets at least one hot nutritious meal a day, its about ensuring that they have a regular visitor who keeps a watchful eye on them and can report any concerns … they call it pastoral care!

So what are the excuses being given by some of our caring councils?  Yes, you have guessed it – the infamous cuts being inflicted by the Coalition. If you ask me, councils are passing the buck. It’s easy for councils to blame Cameron and Clegg and then absolve themselves of responsibility and their lack of vision … “simplz” as Alekandr the Meerkat would say.

Why don’t councils try and be a bit more creative? Leicestershire CC has managed it! Why can others not follow suit?

Whatever excuses a council might give to explain this action, it is short of immoral. And this in the 21st century when we are supposedly more advanced as human beings and more caring.

These vulnerable elderly people have meals delivered because they are, by definition, unable to shop and cook for themselves. And in most cases, they do not have anyone who can help them out either. They are alone and now they are going to be hungry and as a consequence malnourished also.

We recently heard about a vulnerable woman whose meals on wheels were axed at the weekend to save money, and she now eats biscuits on Saturday and Sunday.

So how does any council think the elderly in our community are going to survive if they chop this vital lifeline during the week as well as weekends?

And now someone please tell me …how can we in a modern day society stand by and watch this? If you feel strongly about the issue of malnutrition please read our tweets and retweet to everyone you know.

The NACC’s campaign (No One Should Go Hungry) aims to persuade councils not to cut these vital meals on wheels – take a look at www.thenacc.org.uk

Follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook  @jagpr and www.facebook.com/jagpresspr

One Response to Are the wheels falling off ‘meals on wheels’ for the elderly? This risks widespread malnutrition amongst this vulnerble group.

  1. Hilary Stanton says:

    Luckily I can just about to scrape by and continue with the meals from Agincare for my 90yr old aunt. BUT the quality and quantity of the food is awful and my aunt has lost weight since having them.
    AND since Poole council have stopped funding them, Agincare have also put their prices up again! If my aunt could get out she could have a proper three course meal for less at the local pub.
    It’s a rip off.

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