Royal Rose Place

(289) 480-0400 - 635 Prince Charles Drive Welland, Ontario

Centennial Students Cook Up Connections With Residents

Royal Rose Place Proudly Launched Its "Cooking Together" Program.

Royal Rose Place Long Term Care Home - Welland, Ontario

Food has always brought people together, and at one Welland long-term-care facility it has been doing just that, bridging the divide between generations.

“We all eat. Kids can talk food, seniors can talk food,” said Welland McMaster Family Health Team dietitian Deborah Van Dyke, who helped spearhead a new program, Cooking Together, at Royal Rose Place.

Based on a similar program that ran in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the effort saw 28 Welland Centennial Secondary School culinary students visiting the home once a week over the last month, cooking, eating and interacting with 15 residents. The food, said Van Dyke, was a means to an end in fostering connections between the seniors and teenagers so often split by a generation gap.

“It’s really about that connection,” said Van Dyke, explaining how such interactions are critical for aging residents bound to the home, especially in dementia cases where isolation can exaggerate already existing depression and anxiety.

The students spent every Wednesday for the last four weeks cooking with the residents, then sitting down for a meal. Centennial culinary arts teacher Jennifer LeBlanc-Fraone said it was great to see the students, some of whom don’t have elderly relatives, interacting with an older generation, absorbing their stories, experiences and memories to carry forward.

“It bridges the generation gap,” said LeBlanc-Fraone, noting the program also delivered on culinary education skills.

“It has been awesome,” said Grade 12 student Dean Karr, recalling how the residents were quick to great the students with a smile.

“They looked forward to it,” he said, noting he had a particularly good time with one resident, Marge, who quickly became his favourite. The two often chatted about her life, and wishes to get outside a little more. He said they even jokingly created an escape plan for the senior.

“I loved talking with Marge,” said Karr, who on Wednesday of this week was busy helping seniors make personal pizzas. The experience, he said, impacted how he views others in his community.

“Behind everyone there is a story,” said Karr.

Royal Rose Place life enrichment co-ordinator Carina Ervine said the home, and residents, were happy to have the students, especially those residents without grandchildren of their own.

“They learn from each other,” she said, noting the program far exceeded expectations.

Article By Steven Henschel (Niagara This Week) https://www.niagarathisweek.com/community-story/90...


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