Elderly don’t mince words on the issues

ORANGE seniors said there were plenty of social activities in the city to meet their needs but basic necessities like food and access to shops was overlooked. 

The comments come in preparation for Seniors Week starting on March 15 and after high-profile cook and author Maggie Beer launched a campaign to improve the food provided to elderly Australians in aged-care homes yesterday.

Ms Beer said she would be following the lead of her friend Stephanie Alexander, whose Kitchen Garden Foundation has revolutionised food education in primary schools around the country.

One Orange senior citizen, who declined to be named, backed Mrs Beer’s campaign and said it was long overdue. 

The woman said the food at the nursing home where she lived was “terrible” and compared the food to dog food.

“The mince is like the mince you would give a puppy, with a bit of carrot or something,” she said. 

“They say the menu is looked at by a dietician but I find that hard to believe because what sort of dietician would think it was a good idea to have potato and pasta in one meal?”

The woman said she could not stand the sight of chicken any longer after chicken was served for every hot meal for months in a row. 

Now the home has swapped to mince. 

“We’ve got mince and mince and mince,” she said. 

“When we had chicken they gave you bits of chicken in a white sauce or a grey sauce with rice.

“The sweets are very mediocre and the steak is so overcooked it goes all stringy.”

She said the quality and size of the meals made her feel like a “pauper”.

In a city where two out of 11 NSW Seniors Week ambassadors live, seniors say more could be done to give back to retirees who give much of their time making Orange a better place to live. 

Orange resident Tina Mills said Orange City Council could do more to improve accessibility for people in a wheelchair. 

Though she is not in one herself, she often spends time with those who are and even the smallest step or slightest incline could cause major problems. 

U3A member Thelma Tarn said when it came to social activities, Orange is awash with a range of things for older people to do.

“Before I moved to Orange eight years ago I never picked up a pencil or a paintbrush,” she said. 

Now Mrs Tarn spends her spare time creating her own masterpieces with friends and other U3A members. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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