Opal was raised on a farm with no brothers so she was expected to do the work of three sons. She sawed wood, hoed corn and carried water from the spring. She later worked in a hosiery mill and ended her career at GE in Salem where she worked for almost 20 years. Sixteen years ago, when her husband died from Alzheimer’s disease, they had been happily married for 64 years. Her only child lives four hours away, so at the age of 100, Opal lives independently in her own home and would not want it any other way.
Four years ago, Opal’s cousin suggested that she call LOA to find out about the Meals-on-Wheels program and how it could help support her at home. Opal was well past the eligible age for services which is 60. She also has Glaucoma, Bursitis in hips/shoulders, Macular Degeneration, Arthritis, low weight and most recently was diagnosed with a heart condition. She also uses a walker and cane, all of which keep her from being able to cook or drive to get groceries. She no longer leaves her home very often, not even to go to church, so seeing the volunteers each day means the world to her.
Opal qualified for the hot meals, which are delivered to her home, Monday through Friday. She still has a good appetite and really enjoys the meals. Except for some cereal for breakfast, Opal depends on the meals for her main meal of the day. She eats it as soon as it gets there and then saves some of it for dinner. She relies on neighbors and church members to bring her food/groceries for other meals and one neighbor calls to check on her each day.
She also qualified for a nutritional supplement (Ensure) because she weighs a mere 89 lbs. She says the Ensure helps her to maintain her weight and supplement her food intake. And because Meals-on-Wheels is a gateway to other services, Opal was referred to our Emergency Services program for an adjustable cane and the Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program, VICAP.
When asked what the Meals-on-Wheels program means to her, she emphatically stated, “EVERYTHING! There have been days that I would not have had much to eat. It has been a real blessing and the people that bring them are so delightful, friendly and nice to me.”