Good food: the secret to old age?

It’s a week to honour those who work in healthcare food services and unsurprisingly, we’re hearing story after story about the importance of food, its place in the healing process, and its potential to bring us together.

Healthcare foodservice workers' week

We have also been hearing a lot about longevity and wonder how much of a role good food plays in keeping us alive and well.

Food service workers aren’t always in the kitchen. Shevon Panchew, who works at a retirement home in Forest Hill, Toronto, told us:

“The best part of my job is talking with the residents. I enjoy getting to know them and hearing their stories. I like to hear about what they did for a living, where they have travelled, and the things they have experienced through their lives. There’s one resident who is 103 years old. If someone can be alive that long and still active with a lot of knowledge, that is certainly a good thing!”

Olive Hopkinson has been serving up and delivering food to nursing home residents for nearly 30 years.

“Eating healthy is important,” Olive says. “It will keep you strong and add years onto your life.”

Robert Jackson has been working in a nursing home cafeteria for 21 years. He too highlights interacting with the residents as one of the best parts of the job.

“I enjoy talking with the residents I am serving food to,” Robert said. “One of the residents told me he was friends with Pierre Elliott Trudeau. I met a few other residents whose children have achieved some great careers in hockey and football. I always enjoy hearing their stories.”

Dietary workers are on the alert for allergies and other food-related dangers to residents. Like all roles in the long-term care sector, it’s a demanding job.

But it’s not without its human moments, those moments where residents get to share their stories…while hopefully enjoying a delicious meal.

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