Dining just got a big boost at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle. Meet Arkansas native Karen McGill, Registered Dietitian (RD), and Dothan local Gregory Lynn, Certified Dietary Manager (CDM). Together they bring 31 years of expertise in dining and nutrition to the table. Literally.
The dining duo is initially undertaking a focus on three things as they create a happy and healthy dining experience for all residents and guests at Wesley Place on Honeysuckle: Good ole’ southern cooking, the Honeysuckle Shake, and nutrition education.
When it comes to southern cooking, Gregory has a lifetime of experience. “I grew up in this area and I kind of know some of the classics. We are going to focus on traditional southern food and present it with class," he said. "I will be conducting interviews with residents to discover more of what they want in our menu offerings.”
Karen plans to meet with the staff homemakers and review the seasonal menus to get a pulse on the residents' and likes and dislikes. Resident council meetings with representatives of residents and family members from each Wesley Place household and neighborhood can provide additional input into the menu choices.
The second focus is the introduction of the Honeysuckle Shake. It is a special invention you’ll only find at Wesley Place. Karen explains, “The Honeysuckle Shake is packed with lots of nutrients and calories. Many elderly people get to the point where they lose their sense of taste and smell, and some face weight loss issues because of that. Sugar takes on a higher value. The sugar is appealing, and then we get other nutrients in the shake.”
At the core of most of the Honeysuckle Shakes is Carnation instant breakfast and Ensure, but they are customized for each resident according to their dietary requirements and taste preferences. For residents with diabetes or diabetic tendencies, Glucerna makes a great shake base.
The third area of initial focus is a direct product of culture change -- that in honoring the choices and preferences of residents, it can happen occasionally that the choices and preferences of a resident may not line up with their actual dietary needs or medical recommendations. That sets up a counseling opportunity. Karen wants to ensure that residents are given all the information that will help them to make the best decisions about their health in the long run.
In addition to resident education, Gregory is developing a plan for educating household and neighborhood staff members concerning food safety, presentation, and service excellence.
Gregory has worked in food service for 17 years. Karen has been a Registered Dietitian since 2007 and has worked in the Long Term Care Area as a Consultant for 10 years. She holds a Master’s of Science in Dietetics and is a Licensed Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.