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Nutrition with Joy: Midland Care Dietitian Honors the Small Stuff

Categories: Blog, healthy aging, PACE, working at Midland Care

Nutrition with Joy: Midland Care Dietitian Honors the Small Stuff

Image of Joy Rose Midland Care Dietitian
Joy Rose Midland Care Dietitian, preparing chili

Midland Care Dietitian Joy Rose, RD has learned that when serving our community’s elders, the details matter.

“When my mom went to a nursing home,” she explains, “I saw things through her eyes. It was hard even to get creamer in her coffee. People just don’t see old people. Anytime there is a detail that’s important to them, I try to listen.”

Joy works with seniors in Midland Care Hospice and the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), carefully considering their preferences and complex health needs to create a nutritional plan that works for each individual. She also works closely with other staff members to develop and alter recipes served at The House at Midland Care, an inpatient hospice house, and the PACE centers. She teaches weekly nutrition classes at the PACE centers that she calls “Nutrition with Joy.”

Her father inadvertently guided her to becoming a dietitian by telling her to major in home economics, assuming she would become a teacher. Always seeking out information, and perhaps with a bit of a rebellious streak, Joy found a book in her local library about home economics careers, and got excited about becoming a dietitian. After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri, Joy worked in an incredibly diverse set of environments: hospitals, schools, prisons, dialysis units, and nursing homes, among others.

At one of the nursing homes she worked in, she was struck by the wife of one of the residents, who came to the facility faithfully every day for breakfast and lunch. She was there to feed her husband, but ended up assisting other residents who didn’t have as much family support.

“She paid attention,” Joy recalls “she knew what everyone needed. She could tell me more about those residents than any nurse that worked in that place. I thought: ‘I want to be like her.’”

Joy’s passion for meeting individual needs made her a natural fit for Midland Care PACE, but as she tells it, it took a sign from God to get her application in the door. She left a job she enjoyed but that wasn’t quite right for her, and prayed out loud in her car for another opportunity. At that moment, a Midland Care bus transporting PACE participants drove in front of her. She knew the previous dietitian at Midland Care had recently retired, and considered her prayer answered.

Joy’s work at Midland Care is challenging. PACE is designed to help people who would otherwise need nursing home care live in their own homes. An average Midland Care PACE participant has thirteen diagnoses. Many are diabetic and have health issues related to obesity. As they age, the condition of their teeth, ability to cook and transportation barriers can significantly limit food choices. In addition, most PACE participants live on very limited incomes.

Joy’s favorite recipes to share with PACE participants are simple to prepare for people who can’t stand and cook for prolonged periods, nutritionally sound and, most importantly, tasty and comforting. Common requests include a Greek yogurt apple walnut Salad, microwave chili, a pumpkin pie recipe made with pudding and whipped cream, and a single-portion frozen dessert made by freezing pineapple juice with powdered milk and cocoa.

Joy finds recipes in old and new places, scouring blogs for fresh ideas while cherishing books like the 1979 Tappan Microwave Cooking Guide, the source for her coveted microwave chili.

In the coming months, we’ll bring “Nutrition with Joy” to you! Joy will be sharing a few of her favorite recipes live on Midland Care’s Facebook page. Be sure to follow the page to keep up with her latest finds.

Chili in the Microwave

This recipe is a PACE participant favorite, based on a recipe from the 1979 Tappan Microwave Cooking Guide

1 lb lean ground beef (at least 80%)
1 can red kidney beans
3 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1-2 Tablespoons chili powder
Optional: onions, onion powder, or onion flakes

Brown ground beef in microwave. Cook on high power 5 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes until no longer pink. Add 1 can red kidney beans, 3 8-oz cans tomato sauce, and 1-2 level Tablespoons chili powder, may add onions, onion powder, or onion flakes if desired. Cook on high 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time.