NY Times: Food Snobbery, Top Chefs Enter Senior Living

Culinary artists, farmers markets and other foodie delights are making landfall in senior living—a trend highlighted this week by The New York Times.

And while fine dining isn’t new to those in the industry, the emergence of upscale food can be attributed to the aging baby boom generation, The New York Times reports.

At The Mather, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) comprising million-dollar condominiums near Lake Michigan in Greater Chicago, a regular menu can consist of citrus-dressed duck breasts and tomahawk pork chops. 

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“In a nation where food has become a cultural currency and the baby-boom generation is turning 65 at a rate of 8,000 people a day, it was only a matter of time before expensive ingredients, elevated cooking techniques and old-fashioned food snobbery hit the nursing home,” The New York Times says.

Those entering nursing homes have traveled, and are used to eating at great restaurants, Mary von Goeben, executive director of Chicago-based senior living community Mercy Circle tells The New York Times, adding, “The latte and sushi generation is coming.”

Well-known chefs entering their later years are also pushing the culinary boundaries of traditional senior living.

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For example, cookbook author Paula Wolfert, 76, is developing recipes to help fight her recently diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease and is publicly pushing other chefs to join her.

Fresh, well-prepared food also offers a therapeutic advantage in centers where the nursing staff constantly battles fading memories, taste buds and appetites.

For people with memory loss, waiters may use photographs on tablet computers to help them order and serve food on red plates. 

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But, for some residents the changes are not welcome.

“These people are tough,” Goeben says. “I’ve had little old ladies come up to me with a plate of food and say, ‘Would you eat this?’”

Read the full article here

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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