Archived Story

Senior dining program aims for health

Published 10:01am Thursday, February 14, 2013

BRICELYN — If you’re just making a meal for yourself, it might be easier to heat up a can of soup or pour a bowl of cereal than it would be to make a nutritious meal with all the basic food groups covered. This might especially ring true for senior citizens in the area.

The Senior Dining Program in Bricelyn at the Bricelyn-Kiester Senior Citizen’s Center, 405 N. Main St., hopes to get those folks age 60 and over to enjoy a healthy meal at least once a day.

“Basically, it’s about getting seniors to eat healthy,” said site manager Mary Carroll. “This is to encourage them to have a hot, healthy meal every day.”

Meals begin at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday at the Bricelyn Senior Citizens Center. It’s open to all seniors age 60 and over, with a suggested donation of $3.85 for the meal. Those planning to attend the meal need to call ahead the day before, so Carroll can get a proper head count. They can call 653-4504 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The meals served offer a combination of satisfying the taste buds and nutrition. For example, one recent menu included chicken and rice casserole, carrots, three-bean salad, wheat bread with margarine, low-fat milk and pudding for dessert.

“It’s about nutrition,” Carroll said. “It’s about eating healthy.”

Cooking for one can get boring, Carroll said, so sometimes seniors don’t cook for themselves, “and they’re not getting adequate nutrition,” Carroll said.

For those with special dietary needs, senior dining also offers salt-free and diabetic meals. The senior dining also has a meals on wheels program for those not able to make it in to the center.

On average, Carroll said 12 to 20 people are served daily. Some people come daily and some once a week. There’s no set commitment necessary, Carroll said.

“The more the merrier,” Carroll said.

Occasionally, folks under 60 years old will join the seniors for the daily meal. The cost for those under 60 is $6.55 per meal.

Attendance has declined recently, which could partly be attributed to the small population of Bricelyn, she said.

There’s also a misconception about the program.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get seniors to participate,” Carroll said. “They think it’s welfare, and it’s not.

“This is based on how old you are. We’d like them to know that it’s for all seniors over 60.”

It’s not just about the food either. The gathering for about an hour each day is a chance for seniors to socialize with others. There’s usually a jigsaw puzzle or something else out for a little activity as well.

Coming up on both Feb. 21 and March 21, senior dining will offer soup, sandwich and bingo night. The bingo fun starts at 3 p.m., with the soup and sandwich supper to follow at 5 p.m.