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New program to provide Meals on Wheels clients with mental health check-ins from nursing students

Healthy IDEAS Training.JPG
photo provided by Porter-Starke Services
Porter-Starke Services Older Adult Prevention Coordinator Diana Iltzsche trains Valparaiso University students on Healthy IDEAS

A visit from Meals on Wheels could soon include a check-in from a student nurse for homebound seniors in Northwest Indiana. Porter-Starke Services has trained 18 Valparaiso University nursing students to help Meals on Wheels clients assess their mental wellbeing. It's part of the Healthy IDEAS program, which stands for Identifying Depression & Empowering Activities for Seniors.

Porter-Starke says the students will encourage senior citizens to take part in activities that improve their mood and overall health. And they'll get genuine contact through phone calls and home visits, at a time when many seniors are facing increased isolation due to COVID-19.

Healthy IDEAS will be offered to clients of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana and VNA Meals on Wheels. Funding for the program came from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction.