When Angela Mejia de Lopez retired as professor of ancient history from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, she had big plans which included reading all the books she hadn’t had time to read when she was teaching. Macular degeneration changed all of that.
Now 86, Angela has lived for the past year in a DC apartment, three blocks from her son and his family — who check on her every day and host her for lunch every weekend. But family members became alarmed when Angela began having trouble with food shopping and cooking because of her impaired eyesight. Angela agrees it had become a problem. She was no longer able to distinguish between products at her neighborhood grocery store, and meal planning had become difficult as well. It was her idea to look into home-delivered meals.
Angela’s daughter Adelaida Lopez — who lives in California — arranged through Iona to have meals delivered four times a week. (Through its grant from the DC Office on Aging, Iona delivered meals to 243 older adults in the past year.) “I live alone, but I’m glad to know I am not completely alone,” says Angela, who looks forward to the meals she receives. Adds her daughter: “It’s important for my mother to know that somebody cares about her besides her family.”
“The home-delivered meals program has not only allowed Angela to consume healthy and tasty meals, it has provided her daughter with a sense of relief that her mother is eating well and can continue to age well in her apartment,” says Jakia Muhammad, Iona’s home-delivered meals coordinator.
Iona’s home-delivered meals have been a safety net for Angela and her family. But notes Adelaida “this may be the tip of the iceberg in terms of what we need from Iona,” She recently arranged for her mother to meet with an Iona social work case manager.
Written by Janice Kaplan