Last week I had the pleasure of being at Riderwood Village. I worked in the Rehab and Long Term Care (or LTC, nursing home) areas, although Riderwood also has independent and assisted living. I honestly didn’t think I’d be too crazy about this area of dietetics, however I ended up loving it. The residents were so sweet and I learned so much from them! When we’d walk to another building for lunch, I once saw this couple that was sharing a walker and going for a stroll around the Riderwood Campus. They’d take a break at every bench they saw, and then keep going. It was the sweetest thing!
Many of the LTC and rehab residents had dementia, Parkinsons, and other debilitating conditions, but others were very…spunky! Like one man in his 90’s that was telling stories and cracking jokes at a mile a minute, and another woman who at a BMI of only 17 was still cracking jokes with her family. Plus, my preceptor was fantastic- and a former University of Maryland College Park Dietetic Internship graduate!
The one thing I saw most of in these residents was weight loss, dehydration, and stages of dementia. All three are very strongly linked to nutrition! Weight loss and dehydration are for obvious reasons, but dementia is because often it comes with eating aversions and difficulties that cause weight loss and dehydration. I learned how closely LTC dietitians must work with Speech-Language Pathologists and Occupational Therapists. I LOVED the teamwork environment of LTC!
Now, I am currently at University of Maryland Dining Services for some food service and wellness…updates to come 🙂