At this nursing home, there are more residents who are under the age of 65 than over. Many of them love their goodies and since they like mostly fast food menu choices, dietary tries to offer them similar foods. I suspect it is probably not nearly enough grease, salt or chocolate food to satiate their appetite.
Therefore, on certain days at afternoon snack residents can purchase personal snacks. Activities supplies chips, candy, cookies, snack cakes, pop and other goodies. I have watched this process, and the residents act like they are going to a fire sale. They have to be admonished to sit and wait until their name is called to select and sign for the snacks they choose.
Ever since I moved to a nursing home, I have been concerned about what is served at snack time. It’s usually empty calories. Residents should have freedom to eat what they want, but I question whether eating more than $5 worth of snack food is really OK. Activities charges $1 for a snack cake, bag of chips or other snack to ensures a resident cannot buy 20 at $.25 apiece.
Residents are given a clear plastic box about 12" x 6" to store their snacks. I think they must confine their weekend snack purchases to what will fit in that box. But I have seen six 12-ounce pop bottles and several small gooey snacks fit in there, too.
I really do not want residents to give up snacking, chocolate or their favorite treat entirely, but I feel extra snacks should be limited. Most residents get enough calories at meals to see them through their day. The food may not be what they want, but it is nourishing.
Besides, many of them are diabetic, overweight, some severely obese and most have behavior problems. Many children act up, get hyper and suffer mood swings after eating sugary treats or drinking pop with caffeine. I notice some residents act similarly.
When I very occasionally go to snack and ask for ice water or artificially sweetened Kool-Aid I find only pop is being served. Dietary has to scramble to mix me up something. I always have to make sure my portion of chips is not gargantuan. Many times, they have medium-sized bags and want to give me the whole thing.
Many residents here eat compulsively, especially those under 60. I realize they crave foods and then eat out of boredom. It might be good if some of them could dance or move around after eating. That might assist them to better cope with life here.
Could I eat that stuff? Sure, I could eat some of it. But I no longer crave many snack foods. I realized that after I eat a chocolate, cream filled Long John, I tend to feel like one.
Kathleen Mears is a long-time blogger who has been a nursing home resident for 21 years. She is an incomplete quadriplegic and uses a power wheelchair to get around. Her computer is her “window on the world.” This blog shares her thoughts and view of life as a nursing home resident as well as ideas of how it might be improved in the future.
Topics: Activities , Nutrition