Porter-Starke Services’ newest program will aid clients of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana as well as VNA Meals on Wheels by providing them with check-ins and social contact. Facilitating this initiative are 18 Valparaiso University nursing students participating as part of their public health nursing course. With many Meals on Wheels clients facing increased isolation since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trained students will help homebound seniors better assess their mental well-being and provide them with genuine contact through phone calls and home visits.

The students have been trained by Porter-Starke employees as part of the Healthy IDEAS (Identifying Depression & Empowering Activities for Seniors) program which is an evidence-based program that integrates depression awareness and self-care into existing case management services provided to older adults. 

Students will encourage senior citizens to begin or continue involvement in activities which improve mood and overall health. Training will also allow them to provide clients with the knowledge to set goals and be better aware of their mental well-being.

Students will be working together over the next six weeks to make connections with individuals as they assess their needs. They will be equipped with screenings for depression, educational materials for clients, and referral resources as indicated by screening materials.