Redbridge Council is pulling the plug on its meals on wheels service from next week – but has offered elderly residents advice on how to use online supermarkets instead.
The service will end on 31 July following increasing costs and a decline in demand. The council decided in January it could no longer afford to run the service.
Instead it has set out a range of alternatives, including private meal services, online supermarkets, and lunch clubs including the Age UK service at the Corner House.
One furious Wansteadium reader, whose mother will now no longer receive meals, wrote:
“Meals on Wheels supplies far more than a nutritious meal; the daily visit from the cheery Meals on Wheels delivery folk is often the only human contact many of our elderly folk get. Meals on Wheels not only fights malnutrition but loneliness as well, boosting mental wellbeing alongside physical health. People who would otherwise live in care homes can continue to lead independent lives in their own homes, incidentally saving money for the taxpayer. Damaging the physical and mental well being of our elderly folk puts more pressure on our hospitals and NHS staff, negating any savings Redbridge Council may claim they are making. Maintaining good nutrition and the human contact that comes with this, is vital when ensuring that our elderly are able to live independently in good health for as long as possible. Cutting this service puts vulnerable, elderly members of the community at risk and will also end up costing the country far more money.
Redbridge did not respond to our requests for comment, but did tell the reader that an assessment of each user was taking place. Its press release says:
Where the assessment identifies that the needs of the person using the service have increased, arrangements will be made to ensure that support is in place to provide the help they need to source, prepare and eat a meal ensuring their nutritional needs are met on a daily basis. This may require a package of care to be put in place.
It’s not completely clear what this might involve.