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Kerry Beal

Will you still need me, will you still feed me

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Thanks Maggie for the title.

Over in Calipoutine's thread on cooking for seniors we have been discussing the feeding of 50 seniors for $3 (canadian) a head and the limitations that Randi has faced based on what these seniors are apparently prepared to eat.

As I noted in Randi's thread I was driving over to a fellow eG'er home one day last week when I noticed a Sysco truck dropping off supplies to a local retirement home/seniors community. Sysco is a large distributor of food and foodservice equipment. I spend some time in nursing homes and other institutions and have often found the food to consist of a lot of mystery meat, frozen veg and instant mashed potatoes.

It got me thinking about what will happen when I and my foodie friends end up in these places, how are they going to feed me in the style to which I have become accustomed. I need my pho, my souvlaki, my naan, my gnocchi...

Perhaps we could open the first eG sponsored retirement community - well equipped communal kitchens, weekly visits from rising young chefs, day trips to ethnic eateries.

So any thoughts out there about how we are going to enjoy our food in our "Golden Years"?

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So any thoughts out there about how we are going to enjoy our food in our "Golden Years"?

Sadly, through a straw unless we buy good dentures ... :laugh: with our dwindling Social Security finances ...

Will our children use our recipes for us? :rolleyes:

Will they understand the finer points of great culinary experiences? :unsure:

Do you have pity on people like me whose only child became a vegan even as a dig into my rare prime rib with much gusto? :hmmm:

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I think an eG retirement community is a great idea!

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I think an eG retirement community is a great idea!

and what brave soul among us will lift the cast iron skillet to make our communal true southern fried chicken? :blink:

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The assumption by many that once we reach senior citizenship we evolve into a homogeneous blob annoys me the most. Some of us are stuck in the meat and potato mode but some of us only began the journey into the world of exciting flavour possibilities just before we collected our first pension cheque!

Like all other populations we contain multitudes. We have health challenges, we have likes and dislikes, we have prejudices and fears, hopes and dreams, loves and hates.

When they finally put me out to pasture I hope above all that I will have choices. I think that is the failing in most institutional food. I don't just mean a limited selection of menu items but the choice to cook when I can, to enjoy a communal meal when I choose, to plan some of the meals I would enjoy, to be taken to a favourite eating place, whether it be a high-end restaurant or a pizza joint, when I ask. In other words, to live and eat much as I do now. :shock:

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(Julia)Child had moved to Santa Barbara, where she and her husband had spent winters for many years, shortly before her 90th birthday, choosing a progressive retirement home. She started at the home's most independent level with the option of moving to an assisted living level if and when needed.

"Julia," explained Stephanie Hersh, her assistant, "made these retirement plans many years ago. She thinks it's selfish for people not to make arrangements for their old age in good time."  Child herself, when asked as she turned 90 how she kept fit despite her disdain of diets and love of butter, outlined her personal plan, which included small helpings of everything, no seconds and no snacking but "drinking a modest amount of good wine."

I remember seeing an interview with her when she moved to this retirement community in Montecito, California ... she said she always ate their breakfasts and that they were terrific, and that she enjoyed the occasional In-and-Out burger and that it was excellent for fast food ...

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Well I always thought that by the time we retire, it’ll be just like on The Jetsons, ya know? You just pop a few capsules onto a plate and into the “microwave” oven, press a button, and BAM! A Michelin 3-star meal pops out! :biggrin:

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The eGullet Assisted Living Facility is a fabulous idea, even if it operated in a very narrow market. Goldsters (my mother's contraction of Golden Oldsters) come in every vairety and stripe: golfers, old Trotskyites, birdwatchers, Republicans, yogites, Rangers fans, doctors, tenors, website founders, barristas, lawyers, brewers, engineers, writers, cops, Creative Directors ...

And they all want to eat and cook great grub. I love the idea of young visitng (male) chefs, potlucks, road trips. Kerry, you are so on to something.

I have a date to live in my daughter's basement and eat cat food -- I could never afford Dr. Beal's geriatric culinary utopia. Unless I get in on the ground floor, like now.

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I think an eG retirement community is a great idea!

and what brave soul among us will lift the cast iron skillet to make our communal true southern fried chicken? :blink:

I WILL!!! But Y'all better hurry up, while I can still lift this five-pounder!!

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I WILL!!!    But Y'all better hurry up, while I can still lift this five-pounder!!

We'll chip in to buy you the very best in hernia trusses ... in the meantime, build those bulging biceps up ... :unsure:

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Posted (edited)

 I usually post in the Ladies who Lunch topic but today Kerry suggested this might be more appropriate. Warning: before any of you get your knickers in a knot, please know that I am old and crippled  and hence have earned the right to recognize others of my ilk. I will be 75 this week and walk, only barely, with a cane. 

 

As we arrived at the restaurant I noticed a bus clearly marked Non-emergency Medical Transport.  I thought it just a little bit odd. This was not the kind of restaurant one would normally bring residents of a nursing home in a group. Oh how wrong I was in that assumption.  

 

 As soon as we entered the restaurant, the server led us to a table already occupied by a number of people most of whom were even older and more crippled than I.   Perhaps she believed that I was part of the group and had brought along my very own handler, @Kerry Beal.

 

As those of us who are old and crippled are wont to do, my first stop would have to be the restrooms. 

 

46E90A5B-A867-4212-8106-58457D9919E1.thumb.jpeg.24edb2bcd9c3f15c1023680122e7f515.jpegF122FC6F-FBEA-460C-97F4-3712ED45A641.thumb.jpeg.8534185c1e0045bd2aacd734cc445879.jpeg07B203A5-00E7-49C5-B5F2-FE0F688E3F0D.thumb.jpeg.39eca00e8e791ff7b33fa380e9692d74.jpegA1B6536A-EBA7-4F56-AC27-971C10717372.thumb.jpeg.5159459858747feb5ab381863d33c7a4.jpeg

 

 In attempting to vacate the restroom and return to the table I was thoroughly blocked by a gentleman in a wheelchair and his female carer. While they had an interesting discussion about whether he did or did not need to use the facilities, his helper removed both of the foot rests from the wheelchair. She did not just fold them back, she literally disassembled those two sides of the wheelchair. So now I was blocked by a man in a wheelchair, his helper and the excess pieces of his wheelchair. (I cannot imagine anything more awful for an elderly man than to be taken to a restroom in a public place by a female care giver who is not a relative and did not even appear to be someone who knew him well.)

 

 After more conversation between the gentleman and his helper it was somehow determined in a manner that was beyond my comprehension that he did not need to use the facilities.

 

Now began the process of attempting to reassemble the damn wheelchair. I could sense my warm sake getting very cold.  I asked the helper if there was someway I could perhaps just squeeze by.  She was very accommodating but I was now facing a very large, very able bodied, very athletic man who was on his way to use the facilities and didn’t need my help or anyone else’s help.  Fortunately he grasped the predicament and backed off so I could escape.  

 

 Back at the table it was obvious that this was going to be a long and painful ordering process. Until everyone had placed their order nothing was going to happen. Again we should have made our escape by paying for tea and sake and heading over to Popeyes.  Kerry made some comment about hoping nobody needed CPR because she wasn’t feeling up to it today.

 

 Eventually service began. The other guests had not even the faintest idea of what to do with miso soup, the strange looking tea cups or how this whole affair was going to result in them getting anything at all to eat. 

 

 When the chef began his spiel he was met with blank faces interrupted occasionally by horror as he conjured up flame and smoke.  If he had had any idea in his life of becoming a standup comedian this would have persuaded him to take up hog wrangling instead.  The only time he got any kind of smile out of anyone was when he took out his little squeeze toy to pee on the flames.  I swear if he had jumped on top of the flat top and begun stripping he would still not have got a rise out of anybody (except perhaps me and Kerry).

 

 

DA181726-1BA8-4E16-8A19-436A826FD76C.jpeg.67942219d4136cf9ca1f3a146c796ae3.jpeg

 

We missed a photograph of the pathetic salads but you all know what they look like.   This was the miso soup served with a soup spoon which only frazzled the other elderly people at the table.  I suspect they were also actually horrified that Kerry and I picked up our soup bowls and drank from them. 

 

916582B8-22F0-4F32-B881-602399E5E1F3.jpeg.02cb291a4622fb813a918a0aa2e23ad6.jpeg

 

 Shared appetizer of shrimp and vegetable “tempura”.  

 

1A1784B0-13EC-47D8-9124-635618EAC3E1.jpeg.78616b0365259ac379dec0690cb5b90f.jpeg

 

 The mixed vegetables which were part of everyone’s meal.

 

8AE6977B-6574-402D-BBA5-C391D225B251.jpeg.033637f65eb6d51ffbd0a0d81ebe0015.jpeg

 

 The flaming onion volcano.  

 

D9C4CC21-EEE5-4D97-8790-9D96D834900F.jpeg.d062e71a395c3b279e542ddfa692d2e9.jpeg

 

 My plate with rice and vegetables and two dipping sauces before the steak arrived.

 

To all my friends who care about me , when I reach that stage of old age and decrepitude which is just around the corner and you feel the need to show me that you still care, pick up a nice meal somewhere and bring it to my home where I can eat it in comfort and without embarrassment. 

 

 


Edited by Anna N Edited to remove an extraneous photograph and a lot of white space (log)
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Well it was at least fodder for their later conversation - better than rehashing old episdes of Raymond.....  

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1 hour ago, Anna N said:

 I usually post in the Ladies who Lunch topic but today Kerry suggested this might be more appropriate. Warning: before any of you get your knickers in a knot, please know that I am old and crippled  and hence have earned the right to recognize others of my ilk. I will be 75 this week and walk, only barely, with a cane. 

 

As we arrived at the restaurant I noticed a bus clearly marked Non-emergency Medical Transport.  I thought it just a little bit odd. This was not the kind of restaurant one would normally bring residents of a nursing home in a group. Oh how wrong I was in that assumption.  

 

 As soon as we entered the restaurant, the server led us to a table already occupied by a number of people most of whom were even older and more crippled than I.   Perhaps she believed that I was part of the group and had brought along my very own handler, @Kerry Beal.

 

As those of us who are old and crippled are wont to do, my first stop would have to be the restrooms. 

 

46E90A5B-A867-4212-8106-58457D9919E1.thumb.jpeg.24edb2bcd9c3f15c1023680122e7f515.jpegF122FC6F-FBEA-460C-97F4-3712ED45A641.thumb.jpeg.8534185c1e0045bd2aacd734cc445879.jpeg07B203A5-00E7-49C5-B5F2-FE0F688E3F0D.thumb.jpeg.39eca00e8e791ff7b33fa380e9692d74.jpegA1B6536A-EBA7-4F56-AC27-971C10717372.thumb.jpeg.5159459858747feb5ab381863d33c7a4.jpeg

 

 In attempting to vacate the restroom and return to the table I was thoroughly blocked by a gentleman in a wheelchair and his female carer. While they had an interesting discussion about whether he did or did not need to use the facilities, his helper removed both of the foot rests from the wheelchair. She did not just fold them back, she literally disassembled those two sides of the wheelchair. So now I was blocked by a man in a wheelchair, his helper and the excess pieces of his wheelchair. (I cannot imagine anything more awful for an elderly man than to be taken to a restroom in a public place by a female care giver who is not a relative and did not even appear to be someone who knew him well.)

 

 After more conversation between the gentleman and his helper it was somehow determined in a manner that was beyond my comprehension that he did not need to use the facilities.

 

Now began the process of attempting to reassemble the damn wheelchair. I could sense my warm sake getting very cold.  I asked the helper if there was someway I could perhaps just squeeze by.  She was very accommodating but I was now facing a very large, very able bodied, very athletic man who was on his way to use the facilities and didn’t need my help or anyone else’s help.  Fortunately he grasped the predicament and backed off so I could escape.  

 

 Back at the table it was obvious that this was going to be a long and painful ordering process. Until everyone had placed their order nothing was going to happen. Again we should have made our escape by paying for tea and sake and heading over to Popeyes.  Kerry made some comment about hoping nobody needed CPR because she wasn’t feeling up to it today.

 

 Eventually service began. The other guests had not even the faintest idea of what to do with miso soup, the strange looking tea cups or how this whole affair was going to result in them getting anything at all to eat. 

 

 When the chef began his spiel he was met with blank faces interrupted occasionally by horror as he conjured up flame and smoke.  If he had had any idea in his life of becoming a standup comedian this would have persuaded him to take up hog wrangling instead.  The only time he got any kind of smile out of anyone was when he took out his little squeeze toy to pee on the flames.  I swear if he had jumped on top of the flat top and begun stripping he would still not have got a rise out of anybody (except perhaps me and Kerry).

 

 

DA181726-1BA8-4E16-8A19-436A826FD76C.jpeg.67942219d4136cf9ca1f3a146c796ae3.jpeg

 

We missed a photograph of the pathetic salads but you all know what they look like.   This was the miso soup served with a soup spoon which only frazzled the other elderly people at the table.  I suspect they were also actually horrified that Kerry and I picked up our soup bowls and drank from them. 

 

916582B8-22F0-4F32-B881-602399E5E1F3.jpeg.02cb291a4622fb813a918a0aa2e23ad6.jpeg

 

 Shared appetizer of shrimp and vegetable “tempura”.  

 

1A1784B0-13EC-47D8-9124-635618EAC3E1.jpeg.78616b0365259ac379dec0690cb5b90f.jpeg

 

 The mixed vegetables which were part of everyone’s meal.

 

8AE6977B-6574-402D-BBA5-C391D225B251.jpeg.033637f65eb6d51ffbd0a0d81ebe0015.jpeg

 

 The flaming onion volcano.  

 

D9C4CC21-EEE5-4D97-8790-9D96D834900F.jpeg.d062e71a395c3b279e542ddfa692d2e9.jpeg

 

 My plate with rice and vegetables and two dipping sauces before the steak arrived.

 

To all my friends who care about me , when I reach that stage of old age and decrepitude which is just around the corner and you feel the need to show me that you still care, pick up a nice meal somewhere and bring it to my home where I can eat it in comfort and without embarrassment. 

 

 

 

You just made my day.  I'm sitting here having a pity party over my never ending poison ivy.  I needed this laugh.

 

PS--Judging by how dreadful those vegetables look, I'm scared to ask what the steak was like.

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Just in case I have a stroke or something where communication becomes difficult, I have written out a document about my food preferences and keep it in my filing cabinet along with my will and other directives. My friend who is the main beneficiary of the will and my designated 'person' knows about the document. (I also made one about my cat, just in case.) Hopefully, I will have assistance in my own home for as long as possible. There are some nursing homes with 'gourmet' food, I am not sure I'll be able to afford to go there, though.

 

It has to be difficult for the staff cooking in nursing homes, most of the patients are probably on some sort of special diet: low sodium, low vitamin K, low phosphorus, low potassium, etc.

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1 hour ago, Lisa Shock said:

It has to be difficult for the staff cooking in nursing homes, most of the patients are probably on some sort of special diet: low sodium, low vitamin K, low phosphorus, low potassium, etc.

Are they on the diet because they want to be on the diet or because the doctors and dieticians want them on the diet.  Years ago I was interviewing a doctor whose mother was in the hospital with terminal cancer  and he happened to come to her room while a dietician was telling her everything she shouldn't eat. He said he told dietician she could eat anything she wanted  if she would just eat something.  I also worked with a person whose father was dying of lung cancer and when he asked his father if there was anything he wanted his father said all he wanted was a shot of Irish whiskey.  My co-worker said he wouldn't get it for him because it might interact with all the medicines he was on. From my own personal experience one day when my mother (who was very thin and a poor eater) was in the hospital with her second heart attack, I asked her what she'd had for breakfast. and she said they hadn't brought it.  When I went out to the nurses station they said yes the orderlies had overlooked my mother when doing the breakfast rounds , but the lunch carts would be around soon.  They didn't seem to understand what I was getting so upset about.

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It depends, the low vitamin K diet is for people taking Warfarin (coumadin) because high K foods can interfere with the drug and promote blood clots. If you're terminal and don't mind having a stroke or PE in a few days, then by all means, gorge yourself on broccoli. But, I know people in their 50s who'd like to live a while longer.

 

Staff may also be wary of things like alcohol for personal liability reasons; for some people 'just one shot' results in them drinking the whole bottle then causing a public spectacle, and getting back into bed just in time to vomit and urinate all over themselves. (aka, a LOT more work for staff)

 

Every time I have been in the hospital, I have witnessed elderly patients picking fistfights with strangers, hallucinating and trying to call 9/11 about the hallucination scenario as if it were real, shouting at other patients whom they mistook for relatives, trying to jump out of windows, and more. Once,  a patient who was in quarantine for TB got a pocketknife from a visitor, left his room and started going from room to room in the orthopedic surgery recovery ward stabbing people: nurses and patients. So, I think that people who regularly interact with seniors learn to take everything with a grain of salt.

 

There are a lot of trade offs in both following and not following the dietician's advice. I know of one fellow who lived alone and was supposed to be on a renal diet for a while and did not follow it much, so he wound up on dialysis. Every dialysis day he would 'cheat' on the diet right before leaving for the clinic. He figured that the machines would fix everything. In doing so, he never really adjusted himself to the proper diet. The cheating bled over into non-dialysis days, 'just this once' became a daily mantra of 'just a little more', and on clinic days he would binge eat forbidden items. He always acted like the dietician was exaggerating and  diet wasn't a big deal. One day, he ate a whole bunch of bananas right before leaving the house for dialysis on top of two days of 'oh just a little' of this and that, and the clinic had him wait an unexpected hour before putting him on dialysis. He died that day. Maybe eating 8 bananas was worth it. If he had followed the diet, he might have lived 10+ more years.

 

Not everyone in nursing care is terminal, and maintaining dietary needs is important for their long term quality of life.

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

@Anna N did the old people facility at least pay for your meal?

 

Honestly, I know I did not manage to communicate my feelings about the situation very well. I was filled with a mixture of pity and outrage. Being so close to them in both age and condition it felt as if I was an unwilling voyeur in some sort of freak show.  I have arranged to be taken out back behind the barn and shot just before I reach their stage. 

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The Red Hat Ladies are just a step behind them.

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7 hours ago, Lisa Shock said:

then by all means, gorge yourself on broccoli.

Death by broccoli sounds like a form of vegan hari cari.

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3 minutes ago, gfweb said:

The Red Hat Ladies are just a step behind them.

 I had forgotten all about that discussion.:)

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54 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Honestly, I know I did not manage to communicate my feelings about the situation very well. I was filled with a mixture of pity and outrage. Being so close to them in both age and condition it felt as if I was an unwilling voyeur in some sort of freak show.  I have arranged to be taken out back behind the barn and shot just before I reach their stage. 


Seemed to communicate it just fine to me. The pity and outrage was tempered nicely with sympathy and humor, not sure how better it could have been communicated. And I watched my grandmother and my great-grandmother linger physically long after they were gone to all who loved them mentally so I think I'm going to reserve a spot for myself behind your barn if that's ok with you.

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D7A69E2E-D14D-41D5-A3EA-F4662A9EF45F.thumb.jpeg.88e8f058d60c8bbfb45281b865e42294.jpeg

 

Perhaps after all we deserved to be seated at that table!   I had forgotten this photograph which I took just before lunch in Deningers  grocery store. The store has recently moved to larger quarters in the Burlington Mall and appears to have expanded its offerings. A  photograph of  @Kerry Beal  modelling a pink flamingo apron says a great deal about the mental health of the two of us. 

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What a depressing thread, what a way to start my Saturday morning. :(

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7 minutes ago, Smokeydoke said:

What a depressing thread, what a way to start my Saturday morning. :(

 

I can't say I found it depressing.  At every stage of life, there are individuals who view food as fuel or a necessary requirement of living and others, like most of us here, who are happy to take advantage of the resources available to us to make the most of our meals. 

The last posts, in particular, made me smile in thinking of my parents and I thank @Anna N for sharing it. My folks were active and independent into their 80s and 90s and my dad always loved the idea of getting a good deal so he signed them up for a luncheon put on by the local senior citizens council.  As soon as they walked in and looked around, he turned to my mother and said, "Mary, these aren't my people. We can't stay here."  They went on to have a discussion about leaving, that sounded much like the text messages in @Anna N's post.  I can't remember whether they stayed or left but the rest of the story came back to me and brought a smile to my face.   I need to keep that smile in place as I edge closer to that age range myself! 

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