Laketran Dial-a-Ride drivers are normally taking seniors and people with disabilities around Lake County to get to work, medical appointments, or shopping for essentials.
This week, Laketran CEO, Ben Capelle took the driver’s seat, and with the help of Council on Aging volunteer Denis Hite of Painesville Township, delivered Meals on Wheels throughout Perry and Painesville Township to bring attention the needs of seniors who are home-bound and unable to drive.
Meals on Wheels is a national nutrition program for home-bound seniors, locally operated by Lake County Council on Aging. “I volunteered because I wanted to help raise awareness of the Meals on Wheels program. A lot of our Dial-a-Ride customers appreciate our service because it allows them to remain independent in their homes and I see a lot of similar benefits from the Meals on Wheels,” shared Capelle. “It’s great to see seniors are able to reside in their homes longer,” shared Capelle. “And while the hot meal is very important, you can tell the daily visits and socialization from the volunteers provides a security for seniors living alone and reduces their isolation. “At Laketran, we serve a very similar demographic.
Men tend to outlive their driving ability by about six years and women by about 10 years, and more seniors are living alone,” added Capelle. “Services like Dial-a-Ride and Meals on Wheels are becoming more and more critical for seniors to be able to age in place in the comfort of their homes.” “I’ve heard it called the Silver Tsunami,” said Capelle. “It is just the beginning of a span of 25 – 30 years where the baby boomer generation will demand more senior services. Both Laketran’s Dial-a-Ride and Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels are already seeing increase in services.”
Laketran’s Dial-a-Ride service has grown 18% over the last five years providing 300,000 annual trips, while the Council on Aging staff and volunteers delivered over 170,000 meals last year, a 3.1 % increase over 2017. “As the number of Lake County seniors continues to increase, so does the need for home delivered meals to our residents who are unable to prepare their own meals. Clients may be unable to drive, others difficulty obtaining food, or have physical or cognitive impairments that make cooking and clean-up impossible,” shared Nancy Neihus, who oversees Council on Aging’s nutrition programs. “The majority of Meals on Wheels home-delivered meal client demographics are 85+ years old with 66% being frail or disabled and 56% living alone.”
Pictured In Cover Photo: CEO Ben Capelle delivers warm meals to Perry and Painesville Township residents as
part of Council on Aging’s Community Champions Meals on Wheels week.