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Meals on Wheels to include library borrowing

SeniorsPlus, Western Maine’s designated agency on aging, has partnered with libraries in Oxford County to launch Books on Wheels, a free program that piggybacks on the organization’s food deliveries to lend books, movies and music to homebound recipients of Meals on Wheels.

“Books on Wheels allows those who find it difficult to get around to enjoy the library experience without leaving home,” said Betsy Sawyer-Manter, Executive Director of SeniorsPlus. “Since we were already going into homes to deliver meals, Books on Wheels seemed like a natural fit.”

Participants will select library choices from a survey to gauge their interests and preferences. Using the survey as a guide, local librarians will select specific titles to send back to the participants, who will each be provided with their own book bag for deliveries and returns. The Meals on Wheels delivery people will drop off and pick up library materials at the participants’ homes on a monthly basis.

Since 1972, SeniorsPlus has provided Meals on Wheels for Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties, delivering more than 100,000 meals to 600 older adults and adults with disabilities annually.

The overall program goal of SeniorsPlus, which is headquartered in Lewiston, is to assist older adults and adults with disabilities in its tri-county territory to remain safely at home for as long as possible. The majority of older adults (greater than 95% in an AARP survey) wish to remain at home until they die. The provision of Meals on Wheels can make the difference between staying at home and going to a nursing home or other facility. Each meal provides one third of the recommended daily allowance of nutrition, along with a safety check and a friendly visit to a vulnerable adult. The majority of these consumers are lower-income or on a fixed income.

SeniorsPlus works with many nonprofit service agencies in the community through informal agreements of collaboration to maintain a strong service network for the community. 14,352 volunteer hours were given to Meals on Wheels during the past year.

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