Meals On Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County provides nourishing meals to homebound persons who are not able to prepare meals for themselves. Our menus and recipes take into consideration the needs, preferences, and dietary requirements of older persons.
Our central kitchen prepares breakfast meals and hot noon meals delivered by volunteers Monday through Friday. When we are closed for holidays, frozen meals are delivered to our clients in advance of the holiday. Some clients with special needs receive weekend meals. The weekend meals may be a cold box meal or a frozen meal. We also send out shelf-stable meals for our clients to have on hand for potential inclement weather.
Our director of nutrition services, a registered and licensed dietitian in Texas, plans the menus. We provide a menu, which includes calories and grams of carbohydrates, to each client. We offer seasonal menus, such as the popular salad meals in the summer. Our Nutrition Committee (composed of board members, community volunteers, and food service professionals) reviews, changes, and approves the menus.
In planning the menus, client comments are taken into consideration. Every year, each client receives a satisfaction survey, and nearly 35% of clients return their surveys to us. We record all comments and try to respond to them. We also receive calls and notes from our clients daily and record their comments.
Each of our meals meets at least one-third of the daily recommended dietary allowances for males 51+ years of age. Our registered dietitian reviews the nutritional analysis before finalizing the menus for committee review. The sodium content of the meals does not exceed 1,000 milligrams on average. No salt is added during preparation, and salt-free products (such as frozen vegetables rather than canned) are used as much as possible. For clients monitoring their sugar intake, we offer a special diet meal that contains no concentrated sweets. Our cooks take pride in their work and are very good at coming up with creative ways to add flavor to our meals without adding salt or fat. The fat content is generally 20 grams or less per meal. The kitchen staff and dietitian monitor the meals for flavor, tenderness, and appearance on a daily basis. The option of milk (low fat, skim, chocolate) or Vitamin D fortified orange juice is given to each client.
These programs are designed to help clients with specific nutrition needs. They are partially funded by United Way and carried out by our dietitians.
HAIL (Healthy Aging and Independent Living)
- Our dietitians meet clients diagnosed with diabetes or with a high propensity to develop diabetes in their home to educate about ways to better manage the disease to improve their health status and avoid further health crisis.
- This program has received one state award and two national awards, including the 2009 most innovative program by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.
PAM (Patient Activation Measure)
- Improves self-care of clients’ chronic disease conditions through behavior goals.
- Studies show this type of help can keep these people out of the hospital for six months or more and save valuable health care dollars.
- We found the risk for severe reactions and interactions, medication errors, and medication duplications at an alarming rate among our clients.
- This project decreases the risk of adverse medication effects and saves health care dollars by preventing serious adverse drug events on the front end and eliminating the need for clients to use hospitals because of medication issues.