The importance of checking-in on those who are home bound, live alone

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois-- Meals on Wheels was canceled Wednesday, January 23, because of the winter storm, leaving hundreds of seniors in Rock Island and Mercer Counties without a reliable hot meal.

Now, the Rock Island County Senior Center is stressing the importance of checking in on your neighbors who live alone or are homebound.

"When a senior is living by themselves, they can get lonely they can get depressed," Senior Services Director Mariela Treviño says. "(For some) the only interaction they have in a day is when our home delivery drivers come in to deliver that meal for them."

But even though meal deliveries didn't go out yesterday, staff still checked in on clients.

Nancy Unley was one of 300 clients in Rock Island County who got an unexpected phone call on Wednesday.

"I didn't figure I'd hear from anybody. I just assumed they weren't coming," Unley says. "It really made me feel good that they took the time even though they weren't open to give me a call. It means a lot."

Unley says she had snacks in her Rock Island apartment to tide her over until her next Meals on Wheels delivery. But she says the Senior Center worker was willing to go above and beyond for her.

"The gentleman offered to go to Kentucky Fried (Chicken), bless his heart," she says. "I wouldn't let him."

She says having someone to rely on for help gives her peace of mind.

"I know if I was really, really down and out that they'd be here to help me," the great-grandmother says. "It meant that at least there's somebody out there that's willing to go above and beyond to make sure I had food."

Treviño says staff had to help two seniors get a meal yesterday.

"There were two seniors who had a concern because they had nothing to eat that day and they came to the meal site for a meal that day and we didn't have a lunch for them," she says.

Treviño says helping a neighbor shovel out after a storm or checking in on them can help make sure they stay safe during wintery weather.

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