Timonen, V. and O'Dwyer, C., 'It's nice to see someone coming in': Exploring the Social Objectives of Meals-on-Wheels, Canadian Journal on Aging, 29, 3, 2010, 399 - 410
Canadian Journal on Aging 29 3
Despite the fact that meals-on-wheels have both nutritional and social
aspects, there is a paucity of research on the social objectives of the
service. This article set out to develop our understanding of the social
objectives of meals-on-wheels and to explore the extent to which they
are met by services in Ireland. A literature review suggested that
meals-on-wheels have the potential to meet three social objectives,
namely 1) providing meals recipients with social contact, 2) helping to
re-stimulate an interest in meals and regularising mealtimes, and 3)
helping to develop an acceptance of the service. Interviews were
conducted with 66 purposively-sampled meals-on-wheels recipients in
order to explore these themes and to augment them as necessary.
Respondents derived limited social contact from the service, and there
was considerable variance in staff awareness of this social dimension;
the objective of regularising mealtimes was not important for most
recipients; and many were reluctant to accept the service. The three
objectives are therefore minimally met within the Irish system at
present. The social objectives outlined in this article could be further
developed into a set of criteria for evaluating the extent to which
meals-on-wheels services fulfil them.
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