Questions about dining and entertainment

Dale Carter asked a good question in the comments section on dining, meals and entertainment. Click here to view Below I am answering her specific questions:

How do you enjoy mealtime? Can you write a bit on that? How do you decide where you’ll sit and with whom?

I like mealtime, but I have some nervous energy each time I go down to a meal. This community and most communities are sensitive to the fact that it can be a somewhat unnerving experience for a new resident. My first few meals I was “invited” to have dinner with different residents who have volunteered to help transition new residents.
In this community there is no “formal” assigned seating, but residents and staff will tell you that many people have their “seats”. Several residents shared with me that it’s kind of like “high school” in the dining room.

Although dining services offered to continue matching me up with dining buddies, I have decided to strike out on my own at each meal. Obviously, I am using this as an opportunity to get to know people better. If this was my permanent residence, my feeling is I would be more methodical and less cavelier in my approach. I can certainly see how eventually my musical chair approach to meals might end, and I could slide into a “group” and a “seat”. I can see how I would I would want to have a regular predictible schedule like I do now with my wife and kids. Don’t forget, I could also eat in my apartment which many residents choose to do. The topic of meals, seating and transition is very important to this journey. This is definitely an aspect that I will need to reflect on for some time. I hope to share some interesting thoughts on this in the future.

Here is a picture of tonight at dinner, there are two seatings every evening:

paul spring dining room

What is the food like?

Well, I weighed in officially at 203 pounds on Monday in the nurses office and my feeling is that I have put on at least 5 pounds! (I will give you an official weight before I leave) I don’t have any complaints about the food, but even if I did I wouldn’t say anything — I am trying really hard be objective and to focus on the emotional experience of the transition.

Mealtimes seem to be an important part of the day.

I feel that mealtimes are an important part of our day no matter what age we are. When I am at “home”, I eat most of my meals with my wife and two kids or if they are out I eat by myself. Mealtimes are a chance to catch up, chat, and get valuable nutrition.

In my new home there are many more variables of who I will eat with and where I will take my meal. It really comes back to being creative and flexible and making this part of my life that fits my “purpose”.

Also, if they have any musical or live presentations there, please try to attend and tell us about those.
So far I have only caught the tail end of a piano performance. The piano player was a volunteer who performs a few times a month. Several of the residents like to play an informal game of “Name That Tune” with the performance. After the performance one of the residents asked him if he played at other retirement communities and if they played the same game. That question showed me curiousity of what is life like at other communities like this one. The songs were from the 20s – 50s, I didnt know any of the tunes but he was a great performer!

1 Comment

  • Nancy Matthews

    I just discovered this blog today and will keep reading it more thoroughly. I moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community at age 60 and since most residents are more than 20 years older, your comments will be most interesting to me.

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