Older Americans Month 2021: Communities of Strength
May 28, 2021
Eva McKay credits her furry companion, dog Maizey, with saving her life. Maizey kept rubbing against her neck – where she had been experiencing pain – and it prompted her to see the doctor. That is when she found out she had cancer.
And while her furry friend supports her during these hard times, the MOWCTX Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors (PALS) program helps Ms. McKay care for Maizey. The program provides free pet food and veterinary care to our senior clients and their animal companions. She says she is thankful for the assistance: “…just somebody caring enough about me and Maizey. Forget about me, caring for Maizey. Because Maizey is a special being.”
Meals on Wheels Central Texas client Skye Mathews and her husband, Ronald, have been receiving home-delivered meals for over a year. “It’s been nice. There’s the knock at the door. They’ve really taken care of people.”
During the pandemic, Mrs. Mathews also participated in our Sunshine Calls program, a collaboration between MOWCTX and the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. Sunshine Calls was a randomized controlled trial that assessed the effect of regular friendly calls to homebound seniors by measuring a range of mental health and quality-of-life outcomes. For six weeks, a volunteer called her every couple of days. The two spent a lot of time talking about her art. “I enjoyed it very much. I think he did, too.”
Mrs. Mathews also receives pet food deliveries through our PALS (Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors) program for their beloved Chihuahua, Mr. Pickles, who provides them company.
Longtime Meals on Wheels Central Texas client Pam Morgan is the primary caretaker of her husband of 50 years, Roy Morgan, who has Multiple Sclerosis and is wheel-chair-bound. A few years ago, the Home Repair team made safety and accessibility adjustments to her home, including a special ramp for her husband, to accommodate the wheelchair.
During Winter Storm Uri, they lost power and water and Pam says they were so cold, she did not think they were going to make it. When the MOWCTX team arrived to deliver donated water and emergency supplies, she met them on the front porch. “It was not an easy thing for us but we pulled through,” she said. Before the team left, she proudly pointed at the wheelchair ramp: “you built this for me, remember? I love my ramp, it is beautiful.”
U.S. Army veteran Rigoberto Clarke has been a home owner since 2006. He feels very blessed that he is able to live independently in his own home. As he put it, “where I come from, people don’t own homes. Having grass and trees and my own house, it means a lot to me.”
Thanks to generous funding from The Home Depot Foundation, the Meals on Wheels Central Texas Home Repair program recently fixed Mr. Clarke’s home’s foundation – a much-needed repair – and renovated his bathroom to increase accessibility.
Mr. Clarke says he feels veterans are often forgot-ten by the community and is thankful that Meals on Wheels Central Texas is there for him. “If it was not for you guys I don’t know what my life would have been like. God bless you, and thank you.”