Mary Ryan, corporate director of culinary services | May 19, 2020
Decision-making is the core of independence. Think about it. The decisions we make, from the clothes we wear to the music we listen to, are part of what makes us unique. For many older adults, some of these choices can slowly disappear. But at Walker Methodist, we believe aging does not have to mean fewer freedoms.
Our culinary team strives for one thing daily: to offer joy and freedom to the older adults we serve through food.
In all of our communities, dining programs are incredibly important. To preserve the uniqueness and independence of our residents, we tailor as much as we can to their needs and preferences. For example, our dining areas are comfortable. They’re designed to feel like home, and people can come in whenever they want. Using made-to-order menus allows people who eat with us to choose their favorite meals.
From a chef’s perspective, having a core menu means they know what to execute easily and expertly. Teams are trained to make delicious food for different diets and needs. Chefs explore their creativity, adjust to individual needs, and delight residents.
Even residents with specific dietary needs can learn how to make healthy choices about what they eat. And, with the help of our amazing chefs, instead of being restricted by what not to eat, they often find freedom in the many foods and hearty meals to enjoy.
Delighting someone is a soul-lifting thing for everyone involved. Our team members know our residents, and knowing someone means we can bring joy. A simple surprise can help when someone’s life becomes routine. While routine can be necessary and comforting, upsetting that routine with something delightful—like a good meal—is uplifting.
Freedom through food extends to families, too. With dining rooms set up for visitors, families and their loved ones can enjoy sharing meals together. And, all types of diets are accommodated. Families can get vegan veggie burgers while residents get their usual daily special. Food gives freedom, yes, and it also connects.
Food is life. The idea of nourishing someone through a cup of soup is life-giving. Giving them choices enhances their freedoms. It revives memories and brings comfort. With seasonal food features, catering for anniversary and birthday parties, and shared meals as a community, food is a huge part of our mission: Life. And all the living that goes with it. From the moment someone comes into a Walker Methodist community, it’s the goal of the culinary team to care for them through food.