Vegetarian does not just mean “take away the meat.” It seems the cook at the Assisted Living did not understand this…or didn’t care.
A sweet woman named Bobbie lives at the same Assisted Living my mom lives. They are great friends. They work puzzles and attend church together. They eat together. They can be seen gabbing about life together.
Bobbie is a vegetarian and an amputee. She’s been having trouble with her leg. Sores developed where her prosthetic grips. Her wounds had gotten so bad she could not wear her prosthetic. She’s been in a wheel chair for three or four months. She gets around and has a wonderful attitude, but being in a wheelchair restricts her activity.
Many times I’ve stayed at the AL when I visited my mom. I would do puzzles and eat meals with these ladies.
I noticed a few months ago Bobbie wasn’t eating much. Or to be more precise, she wasn’t being served much. When beef stroganoff was served, for example, the staff simply removed the meat and gave her a bowl of plain noodles. Another night chicken with cheesy potatoes and beets were on the menu. Bobbie was served beets. Just beets. It seemed that the kitchen staff were simply taking away all meat and dairy products from meals to make them vegetarian. They were not substituting appropriate foods. No protein. No fiber. Sometimes no veggies.
Last July, on advice from my lawyers, I hired a care advocate. Deb visits my mom weekly and helps her when I am not in town. I learned Deb also works with Bobbie. I called Deb to tell her what I’d seen and expressed my concern about what Bobbie was being served. She thanked me for my concern but said she could not discuss Bobbie with me due to privacy protections.
A few days later I received a cryptic note. “That issue we discussed…We are ON IT! Thank you!”
Yesterday I received another note from Deb. With permission from the guardian Deb told me Bobbie has been going to wound care for a year with minimal improvement until the past month or so. Suddenly she is making great strides and her wounds are improving at a face pace!
Yes, protein matters! Getting proper nutrition matters! Vegetarian does not simply mean “no meat.”
Because I noticed what she was being served and spoke up to someone who could do something about it, this beautiful woman is healing. Her care advocate had a meeting with the Assisted Living staff to discuss proper meal plans. The staff implemented the plan. And Bobbie is now being served nutritious vegetarian meals. Her body is responding. She is getting better!
I am grateful to have played a very small part in making a difference in her life.