Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stirring Up Memories

Isn’t this a clever name for a cookbook? This cookbook was published as a fundraising project by The Montclair Retirement Community in Springfield, MO. The cookbook was published by Morris Press Cookbooks. The residents and staff submitted the recipes and comments for the project, had a recipe swap, and enjoyed the whole thing. All of the proceeds went to Ozark Food Harvest, a local food bank.

One of the staff members came up with the idea and it was a wonderful success. Not only did it give the residents another chance to have fun, visit and share memories, it helped others. I loved the idea myself. I am sure that many seniors would like to give more to community’s projects, yet everyone is being frugal these days. The recipes were free, the memories of cooking and serving them to family and friends…as they say “PRICELESS”.

The Montclair is a very nice Independent Retirement Community. They have 158 apartments, offering a variety of services. They have a beautiful restaurant styled dining room, housekeeping services, and 24/7 security.

Several years ago, my husband selected The Montclair for his elderly folks. They were in their mid-eighties then. It was quite a change for them, moving out of the large house in another town and not being independent. Fast forward several years when I had just met Bruce.

By now, his mother and step-dad were in their mid-nineties. Poor Harold had severe dementia and Hilda was feeble physically. They were still managing in their little apartment with Bruce’s help and a helpful staff. They would eat breakfast, lunch in the apartment, but have dinner in the dining room.

Hilda passed away shortly after I met them, Harold could not stay alone at The Montclair. His son arranged for him to move to Texas and a care facility but it would take 2-3 weeks. I went over each day to watch out for Harold. (believe me when I say I am not a caretaker)

That began the adventures in the dining room with Harold and friends. One would think you were in an upscale restaurant. Because of Harold’s dementia, we were seated to a quiet table, a bit away from others. No matter what was on the menu that day Harold ordered an additional large serving of raw red onions. (maybe that’s why he was seated alone.) He always told the same stories, asked the same questions as dementia patients do, and ate like a hired hand. In addition, he ate fudge-icles all afternoon.

That was 10 years ago. Harold lived a couple of more years in Texas and died quietly and peacefully.
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