New Dawn launches province-wide network for Meals on Wheels

New Dawn develops online resource-sharing hub to help strengthen the network of provincial Meals on Wheels.

Although Nova Scotia has over thirty organizations offering Meals on Wheels programs, a coordinated provincial approach to providing seniors with nutritious meals delivered to their doors does not exist. At a recent gathering of Meals on Wheels organizations from across Nova Scotia, increasing coordination was identified as a priority.

“Meals on Wheels programs across the province have different approaches to accomplishing the same goal: to feed seniors in our communities,” says Claire Turpin, Manager of New Dawn Meals on Wheels. “It only makes sense that the various organizations that manage these programs could benefit from coming together to learn from each other and to motivate each other.”

Turpin, who is also a registered dietitian, says that while the organizations have the same goal it is becoming more challenging to meet the needs of their client base.

“Seniors’ diets vary widely, and we have to be aware of how to respond to their dietary restrictions properly if we are to serve them well,” says Turpin. “An inability to respond to those needs would mean having to turn people away and no organization wants to do that. In fact, with an ageing population, it is important that we are able to grow our programs to meet the increasing demand.”

This is the motivation behind creating an online resource-sharing hub to support a province-wide network of Meals on Wheels organizations.

“We want to ensure that clients receive the best possible nutrition delivery service and that means open communication and the sharing of best practices,” she says.

“Whether it is sourcing the best packaging for meal deliveries, the procurement of local ingredients, or the creation of appropriate menus, the sharing of experiences and approaches will result in better care for the seniors that rely on us.”

To date, Turpin and her team have created a website listing all the province’s Meals on Wheels contact information and service area. They have also created two videos outlining the services offered through such programs and have made them available to the network free of charge. The website will soon include information on senior care, nutrition, menus and recipes, and other information that may be helpful to the community of Meals on Wheels organizations.