Questions arise as to how downtown seniors will get meal deliveries & home health care during RNC

Posted at 4:22 PM, Jun 15, 2016

With the Republican National Convention nearing and still no announcement about the security perimeter, local health care agencies are scrambling to figure out how they will serve seniors who live downtown.

"Like a lot of people, we're waiting to find out what streets will be closed and when," said Blake Babcock, CEO of Mobile Meals, an agency that delivers food to seniors downtown and across Northeast Ohio.

"It's going to be a challenge," said Doug Beach, CEO of the Western Reserve Agency on Aging. "It will actually give us a chance to see if the plans we put in place for years work."

There are approximately 750 seniors downtown who receive help from the agency through Medicaid. Help can be in the form of meal deliveries and/or home health care. Many seniors get services daily as their lives depend on it.

"If we don't bring it [food] to them, chances are they are not going to be able to eat," added Babcock.

"I hope that it will be delivered," said Erika Hayes who lives a block from the Q arena where the convention will take place. The 75-year-old receives weekly frozen meal deliveries from Mobile Meals.

Mobile Meals and the Western Reserve Agency on Aging are waiting to find out the security perimeter for the convention. The U.S. Secret Service hasn't announced it yet. Once it is, the agencies said they will put plans in place to be able to reach their clients by car and on foot.

"Question is how do we get down here early in the morning before things are congested and get people served quickly," said Beach.

Babcock said his organization is prepared to equip its deliverers with carts as he expects drivers will have to park far away and walk a distance to deliver meals.

If need be, the Western Reserve Agency said it will move clients to a facility outside of downtown if they are not easily reachable during the convention.

Regardless, Babcock and Beach said they are prepared and confident that all of their clients will be cared for during the convention.

"We have to have a no-excuses mentality as far as that goes," said Babcock. "These people depend on us to deliver."

"We'll adapt," said Beach.