Food is such an integral part of our lives. Food is the center point of any type of celebration in our lives. Some of our favorite memories are triggered by the smell of certain foods. We remember what was served each Thanksgiving at grandmaâ€™s house, what we ate on an anniversary, or on a first date. We remember what foods were brought to our grandmotherâ€™s funeral. In our Elders lives, food is one of the last things they have any control over.
We strive to make meal time and celebrations such special occasions for our Elders. We have a Food Committee, and they choose their meals for the next month and for all the special events. It gives them a feeling of accomplishment being able to make their own menus.
In this Resident centered environment, this is a very important issue for them. They are making the choices for themselves, not having to eat from a mass produced menu made by a young college student whose only concern is having a protein, starch and a fruit each meal.
Our Elders deserve to eat the foods of their choosing, just like we do every day of our lives. They have lived, raised families, and worked all their lives and to come into long-term care, and eating bland food is enough to depress anybody. Good food makes everybody happy. I always feel so much better after a good meal of my choosing, donâ€™t you?
We at Spring City Care and Rehab just recently received our Eden Alternative Certification. The Eden Alternative program enhances the culture of aging and care in an organization. The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders. Our Food Committee goes a long way towards easing the transition into long-term care. The loneliness; by being part of a team. The helplessness; by being able to choose their own menus and the boredom; by searching for new recipes to try.
We hosted an Eden party on February 6 to celebrate our Eden Certification. The Elders chose their favorite simple pleasures, and we incorporated these into the celebration. Their favorite food is the fried catfish we have every week on Fish Fry Friday. We set up several stations around the dining room and served popcorn, candy, coke and root beer floats, hot chocolate and, of course, fried catfish. We played their favorite TV show, the Andy Griffith show, on a screen in the dining room. We had a huge turnout, with several local dignitaries, family members, the local newspaper, and our state senator in attendance. We even made the front page of our local newspaper.
The Elders have a vegetable garden each year. They enjoy planting and watching it grow. They gather and cook their vegetables in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy. In the summer months, they like to have plates of sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and onions on each table in the dining room. This makes it feel even more like home.
If you ever get a chance to come visit our little neck of the woods, please come visit our Elders in their home and join them for a meal. They have lots of dining stories to tell.