Meals on Wheels is “more than just a meal” for those who use the service; as it also helps to “reduce isolation and loneliness” with its “social element”.

Irish Rural Link, the national network representing the interest of rural communities said that while demand for the Meals on Wheels service was increasing prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, it surged “significantly” during this time.

With an ageing population, this trend is expected to continue in the coming years.

Meals on Wheels website and map

Irish Rural Link is today (Monday, September 6) launching its new Meals on Wheels network website and interactive service map.

Over the past few months, Irish Rural Link undertook a needs assessment of the service across the country and developed an interactive map to help identify gaps in services. 

This map, which is available on the new website, is a resource for people to find a service in their local area for themselves or family member or friend who could benefit from the service. 

Seamus Boland, CEO of Irish Rural Link said that recent Central Statistics Office (CSO) data shows that there was a 17.9% increase over the past five years in the number of people over the age of 65 in Ireland.

“These numbers will continue to increase. How we deliver healthcare to older people must change and community services such as Meals on Wheels play a key role in ensuring people can age at home with easy access to services,” Boland added.

Minister with responsibility for mental health and older people Mary Butler said the development of the network and website will “not only help those availing of this service, but also those who will be utilising services in the future and will allow for greater inclusivity for people in rural communities”.

Anyone wanting to avail of Meals on Wheels can check out the online map.