Local Chefs Win Gold as Providence Life Services sweeps the AHF Culinary Challenge

ELMHURST, Ill. (November 2011) – This is not your father’s healthcare food. Or maybe it is — if your father lives at Village Woods, a retirement and assisted living community in Crete, Illinois. Kevin Risner is the Executive Chef there, and he just proved his chops by winning the gold medal at the AHF Chicago-Midwest Chapter’s Culinary Challenge on Friday, November 18. AHF (Association for Healthcare Foodservice) is on a mission to eliminate the stigma of “hospital food.” Member organizations all use self-operated foodservice, as opposed to contracting or outsourcing dining services to an outside management group. “Keeping dining in-house,” says Mark Trnka, “allows greater creativity and flexibility, which leads to higher customer satisfaction.” Mark is the Vice President of Support Services at Providence Life Services, the parent company of Village Woods. He supervises Kevin as well as chefs at eight other Providence retirement communities and nursing homes in Illinois and Michigan. “In the end, we want our residents to get the nutrition they need, and we want them to look forward to mealtimes!” Mark is also president of the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of AHF, and after seeing culinary competitions at the group’s national conferences, he wondered if such a challenge would be good at […]

Four Flu Shot Facts

1. November is not too late. Many people get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available in October, but even after the first rush is over, getting a flu shot is still worthwhile, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on their Seasonal Influenza website: “CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as vaccine becomes available in their community, but vaccination can take place at any time throughout the influenza season. “…The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.” 2. You might already be contagious. Adults who have the flu can infect other people up to a day before symptoms become visible, and up to 7 days after becoming sick. 3. Some people are at high risk for flu. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year, but for certain people the vaccine is particularly important. For example, children younger than 5 are especially susceptible to flu-related complications. And people […]

Preventing Falls: a home safety checklist

Caregivers, you may be able to prevent a serious “health incident” for your elderly relatives by simply printing this checklist and using it to evaluate your own home as well as theirs. (After all, home safety is important for all ages!) Throw away throw rugs Even when rugs are carefully taped down, they are a potential tripping hazard. Walkers, canes, crutches, and shoe heels can easily catch on the edges or corners, and the results can be painful. Even bed skirts and shower curtains that are too long, or coat hooks that are hung too low can lead to dangerous entanglements. Clean up clutter Children’s toys, piles of books, half-finished projects, half-dirty laundry, dormant sports equipment — all should be cleared from floors and stairways. The only thing on your stairways should be a small, lightweight, handled basket — one at the top and one at the bottom. When you need to bring something upstairs or downstairs, put it in the basket, and slide the handle over your arm. This leaves your other hand free to grab the stair rail. Get a grip All stairways should have sturdy handrails. Even if you don’t think you’ll use them now, at some […]

Avoiding Prescription Problems

If you are an average person over 55, you may be taking up to 8 different medications every day. That’s a statistic widely reported by Paula Span, who writes The New Old Age blog for the New York Times. Juggling that many medications requires extra attention. Seniors who are also caring for their parents and all their prescriptions may find these tips helpful: Be aware of language There is no standardized wording for prescription instructions, so different doctors may be using different words to say the same thing. For example, the following phrases may mean different things to the average pill-taker, but doctors use them all to indicate that a medication should be taken twice daily: “Take twice daily” “Take every 12 hours” “Take morning and evening” “Take with breakfast and before bed” Being aware that different words can mean the same thing may help you simplify your medication schedule. In fact, you can ask your doctor for clarification too. When he prescribes a new pill, ask if you can take it at the same time as your other pills. If you take your completed Health Info Kit with you to each appointment, you can show your doctor your complete […]