The Rich Poor Man
The knock was faint – so faint it only just caught our attention. I opened the door a few inches and was startled to find myself facing an old man, a very old man. His glassy, “marbleized” eyes were set in a stubbled, deeply furrowed face – but it was a happy, friendly face.

In his hand was a wicker basket holding a few vegetables. He bid us a very polite good morning and then invited us to purchase some of the neatly packed produce.

This was the first of many calls that we would receive from Mr. Rainer. Over the next few months we got to know him rather well. Though he lived in a one-roomed “back yard” apartment down the road, and though his life seemed to be characterised by intense struggle, he never complained – and he never begged. From the day of our first meeting, however, Mr Rainer’s mismatched shoes and his threadbare clothing told their own story.

On one of his last visits, Mr. Rainer could hardly contain his excitement as he exclaimed, “The Lord is so good! I came out of my home this morning and found a huge sack full of shoes and clothing at my front door. And you know what is even more wonderful,” he wheezed, “I know of just so many people who desperately need all of these things…”

We thought Mr Rainer would at least take a pair of shoes for himself, or a jacket, or something that he could sell in order to improve his own lot in life, but no…

Mr Rainer’s funeral was attended by a surprising number of people – most of whom would be classified as the poorest of the poor. Not one of the very poor folk made a speech, yet many of them served as silent witnesses to Mr Rainer’s kindness and love…for we could not help but notice that they were wearing the old shoes and the articles of old clothing that we had left at Mr Rainer’s front door some weeks before…

May you rest in peace, dear Mr Rainer. Your kindness and your love continue to ripple through the lives of others.

Exercise – For Life
According to a report prepared by the offices of the United States Surgeon General, staying young has a lot to do with how much exercise you get. Studies show that exercise has an important role in promoting good health, functional independence, and quality of life in older adults. In other words, it may help slow the aging process by preventing or reducing the chances of disease and disability in seniors. For those who are aging, heart disease and osteoporosis are major concerns, yet regular exercise, together with a balanced natural food diet, can play a major role in preventing both of these maladies.

Heart Disease:
In the case of the circulatory system, exercise helps to regulate blood pressure and to boost good cholesterol (HDL). Exercise also reduces obesity, which is a major contributor to heart disease (and diabetes). If you’ve never exercised, it is important to start slowly. One of the easiest ways to exercise is to walk. One 30-minute walk or three 10-minute walks a day can help you to add a few more years to your life.

Osteoporosis:
Studies show that physical activity, which includes weight-bearing exercise, can help to prevent osteoporosis. Older adults are at a greater risk for osteoporosis and it is crucial that they exercise since it reduces their chances of falling and suffering from the injuries that are caused by those falls.

In a study of women aged 50 to 70, the women who strength trained gained 1% more bone density in the hip and spine while the group that did not lift weights lost 2.5 % bone density. Those who trained had strength increases from about 35% to 76% above the control group. Balance improved 14% and general physical activity increased by about 27%.

New Health Services
Visits to the doctor can be extremely difficult for the elderly. Sometimes physical infirmities and transport problems force Senior Citizens to miss vital consultations. Knowing all too well about the many problems that Senior Citizens face when it comes to their medical needs, two Meals on Wheels branches have taken up the challenge to provide, not only food, but also much-needed basic medical care and medical screening “on wheels”.

Care on Wheels:
At our Johannesburg South branch, qualified medical staff are now calling on the homes of the aged, on a voluntary basis, to check blood pressures and blood sugar levels etcetera, and to ensure that medicines are being taken as prescribed. “I could not have wished for a better service,” said one ailing great grandfather. “For three years I have had to make weekly visits to the doctor and it has always been a most daunting undertaking. Please pass on my special thanks to the medical personnel who are volunteering their free time to help us in this meaningful way.”

Health on Wheels:
A survey of some of the poorest communities in the country revealed that 81% of those surveyed had need of primary health care. In response, the Tygerberg Service Center (Cape Town) started a mobile clinic which has been aptly named, Health on Wheels. The clinic membership now stands at almost 1 300 individuals – with over 4000 visits having been logged to date. Every day of the week the clinic travels to a different neighbourhood.

Health on Wheels and Care on Wheels do not receive any government subsidy. Once again, it is thanks only to the kindness and support of caring commercial organisations and members of the public that these vital services are able to continue to operate. Knowing the extent of the pain and the suffering that are being experienced by the aged and the impoverished throughout South Africa, it is our sincere hope that all of our branches will one day be in a position to render similar services.

Thank you again for your support!

Internet Sites for the whole family
If you are a person who puts great value in doing things together as a family, this site is for you. There are all kinds of fun-filled ideas for the whole family, and advice on issues surrounding child raising.
http://family.go.com

Why should poor health ruin your life? The information on this website has helped a great many people to recover and to preserve their health.
http://www.keepwell.com

This is a brilliant website with tips on anything you can imagine. If you are looking for something specific you can search for a tip on that topic.
http://www.tipking.com

Elsies River serving their community
Situated in the heart of one of the poorest areas in South Africa is the Elsies River Meals on Wheels branch and Service Center. For the last 17 years this branch has been a beacon of light in a community where life is extremely difficult and dangerous, and where poverty abounds.

On the day of our visit it was rainy and cold. Having witnessed such immense squalor and destitution along the roadside, we couldn’t help but to feel a little depressed. As we entered the hall, however, it was like entering a totally different world to the one we had just experienced – warm and cozy. Senior Citizens sat at tables chatting, laughing, and playing games. The bright yellow walls made the center feel sunny and cheerful despite the grey day outside. Quiet music played in the background.

Surrounded by poverty and violence the center provides many Senior Citizens with a haven of safety and a place where they can interact with other Seniors. Besides the various other activities, Seniors love to sew and knit items that are then sold to help raise funds for the center. Even some of the gentlemen have learnt to knit – insisting on making their contribution. Regular exercise classes also help to ensure that muscles are kept strong and supple, and that bone breakage is thus prevented.

The meals that are served at the center are delicious and nutritious – and substantial, as are the meals that are regularly delivered to the homes of the struggling aged in the area.

On Mondays and Thursdays soup is also served to the unemployed in the community. The soup queue usually stretches halfway around the block. While hardship was evident everywhere, it was the sincerity and the genuine gratitude of the people that really touched us.

Meals on Wheels is making a huge difference in the lives of the disadvantaged in Elsies River – and this is only as a result of the kind support of people like you.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

In Celebration of Life!
• Grandparents are just antique children.
• There’s no place like home . . . except Grandma’s!
• Grandchildren make me feel young. It’s being married to a grandfather that really bothers me.
• A family is a little world created by love and tied together with heart strings.
• The older the violin, the sweeter the music. ( C. Putnam)
• If I had known grandchildren were this much fun I would have had them first!
• Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. (James   Baldwin)
• Riches is not a matter of money, or years, but experience.
• Grandmas are short on criticism and long on love.

Meals on Wheels For The Aged
National Public Relations Office
PO Box 700, MEYERTON
SOUTH AFRICA, 1960
Life support: 086 00 00 700
Fax: 086 76 75 019
www.mowglobal.org