Wish Book 2017: Frail comparison relies on Meals on Wheels

SAN JOSE — Donna Clendenning doesn’t accurately live alone. The thin 78-year-old bunks with Uno, Dos, Tres, Daddy, Mango, Big Bird and Taz.

But essential as those 7 yellow canaries and terrier are to a contented coloring-book enthusiast, it’s Meals on Wheels motorist Chuck McCollum — and transport like a pot fry he delivers — that concede Clendenning to sojourn in her little East San Jose rental.

“Meals on Wheels are like family — they unequivocally do check on you,” she said. “Otherwise they’d put me in a caring home.”

Clendenning is one of 600 aged and infirm adults via Santa Clara County who count on a module run by a nonprofit The Health Trust. The organisation served some-more than 83,000 dishes final year to clients who like Clendenning are bad and incompetent to emporium or ready dishes on their own.

Most live alone, and some-more than half have no family or friends nearby. The standard customer is about 80 years old.

Clendenning survives on an income of about $1,000 a month, that leaves probably no income for groceries. She also has arthritis, diabetes and respiratory problems, that make it tough for her to get around but a walker.

Seven thousand aged residents in San Jose live in poverty, have singular mobility and don’t get adequate to eat, according to a American Community Survey of a U.S. Census.

The Meals on Wheels module costs The Health Trust about $1 million a year. The nonprofit needs to lift about $38,500 to assistance grasp a idea of portion during slightest 50 some-more clients subsequent year.

Donors who minister $11 will capacitate a organisation to broach a day’s value of uninformed dishes to a comparison like Clendenning. A $77 concession will yield a week’s worth.

For Clendenning, a splendid mark in her day is a revisit by motorist McCollum to her tiny, two-bedroom grandma unit.

About three-quarters of a agency’s routes are lonesome by volunteers like McCollum, who has been assisting out weekday mornings for years but removing paid or reimbursed for mileage.

McCollum, 76 years aged himself, steadily delivers prohibited dishes during a week. On Fridays, he leaves Clendenning and another dozen clients he serves sandwiches and salad for a weekend.

Sample menus embody steamed tilapia with lemon dill sauce, brownish-red rice, a whole wheat cooking roll, vegetables and sliced oranges for dessert. The dishes enclose no hydrogenated oils, boiled food or high-fructose corn syrup.

“My favorites are a spinach-mushroom lasagna and eggplant Parmesan with whole-wheat rigatoni,” Clendenning said. “I’m not most of a beef eater.”

Good nourishment contributes to people’s contentment and can revoke a series of costly sanatorium stays, pronounced Teresa Johnson, executive of a Meals on Wheels program. Clendenning herself was recently hospitalized after carrying a serious asthma attack.

The annual per-client cost of Meals on Wheels is about $2,250 — somewhat reduction than a singular day in an acute-care hospital, Johnson said. It’s also most cheaper than putting Clendenning in a nursing home.

Besides delivering meals, McCollum chats with Clendenning, brings gifts during holidays and reserve pet food for Taz. He also arranges visits from a amicable workman if necessary. He and a other drivers are trained to note changes in clients’ cognitive awareness, intensity reserve hazards in a home and either dishes are being eaten.

The module also has dual amicable work interns who do home visits, consider clients’ health and arrange for assistance such as travel to a alloy or a new fridge.

McCollum once even discovered a client, he said.

“She fell out of her wheelchair and was fibbing on a floor,” he said.

But even on comparatively uneventful days, he enjoys creation deliveries on weekday mornings.

“It’s rewarding to accommodate such good people and assistance them stay in their homes,” he said.

The Wish Book is an annual plan of The Mercury News that invites readers to assistance their neighbors.

Donations will assistance The Health Trust’s Meals on Wheels module make 500 some-more home visits in 2018 to broach a week’s value of uninformed dishes to a senior. One week of dishes costs $77. Goal: $38,500

Donate during wishbook.mercurynews.com or mail in a coupon.

Read other Wish Book stories, perspective photos and video during wishbook.mercurynews.com.

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