Christmas joy on the menu

Meals on Wheels clients Doreen Gavenlock and Alice McGaughey with Scout Xavier

Christmas joy is on the menu for Central Coast seniors this December, with Meals on Wheels Australia drivers set to deliver more than 12,500 Christmas cards co-ordinated by Home Instead along with its meals.

As part of Home Instead’s national Be a Santa to a Senior program, volunteers will deliver hundreds of cards decorated by children on the Central Coast alone.

Cards were also handed out and also at the Woy Woy Meals on Wheels Community Restaurant lunch on Friday, December 1.

These cards were lovingly decorated by children aged five to 13 from Broken Bay Scouts Group and were hand delivered.

“Everyone had a wonderful time at the Christmas lunch and one of the Broken Bay Scouts, Xavier, who is six years old, was there to present the cards,” Home Instead Central Coast & Newcastle Community Engagement Manager Samantha Farham said.

“It was really heartwarming to see the happy interactions between the seniors and Xavier.

“He has already asked to go back to visit, and the seniors said they would love to have him return.”

Farham said collaborations like this with Meals on Wheels Australia broadened Home Instead’s outreach to support many more people who needed vital social contact.

“It’s incredibly important for our community’s seniors to feel cared for, included and supported all year round, and even more so at Christmas, and this is what Be a Santa to a Senior is all about,” she said.

“Our experience and Meals on Wheels research tell us that two of the biggest threats to wellbeing as we age are social isolation and loss of independence.

Children decorating the cards which were distributed at the luncheon on December 1

“Only 20 per cent of Meals on Wheels customers report having one or more meaningful social connections a day, excluding their meal deliveries.

“Home Instead shares the desire to increase wellbeing for our clients through meaningful social connection while providing a service and we are proud to join forces this festive season.

Meals on Wheels Australia Chair Paul Sadler said intergenerational contact is immensely rewarding for both older people and children.

“We can ensure isolated older people right around the nation experience that companionship, through our network of meals on wheels services reaching older people across Australia,” he said.

Farham said a small gesture could make a big difference to a senior.

“Simply helping with groceries, walking someone to their car, or taking the time to have a chat or help at home can go a long way to improving wellbeing and eliminating feelings of loneliness and isolation,” she said.

Home Instead is a specialist national provider of high-quality, relationship-based, in-home care for older Australians.

It helps with a range of personal and lifestyle needs while providing welcome companionship.