You go, grandma!

Don't ever step in the way of a senior and his/her doughnut. Just don't. 'Cuz it could get ugly.


The owners of a senior center outside New York City found this out the hard way. The government of Putnam County, NY, decided that too many doughnuts were being donated and then consumed at their senior center. Concerned about the health and well-being of their residents and visitors, they banned all pastries from the center.

"Officials were concerned that the county was setting a bad nutritional precedent by providing mounds of doughnuts and other sweets to seniors," says the Associated Press article.

Some residents didn't really care, some approved of it, while yet others took matters into their own hands.

They are now protesting outside the front doors of the facility with placards and sandwich boards.*

One reads, "They're carbs, not contraband."

Another: "We're old enough to choose."

Damn straight.

There was, of course, a little more to the issue than just the calories/carbs/fat issue that is immediately associated with a trip to Dunkin'. Reports said that as many as 16 cases of donuts were being delivered to the center each day, and that some had been sitting in car trunks overnight, or showed up with a sprinkling of mold.

The easy, obvious solution would be to limit the number of doughnut donations, and once the limit had been reached, to go visit another community group in need of free pastries. As for the mold issue, maybe you could just have potential donors eat a little of their donation before they leave. I guarantee that the number of moldy sweets will plummet.

Joe Hajkowski, 76, the former labor union member who organized the protest said that "officials had implied that seniors were gorging themselves on jelly doughnuts and were too senile to make the choice for themselves."

There are several ironies involved in this, namely that people would be so up in arms about weight gain in a population where studies have proven, again and again, that weight loss is horrifically unhealthy. 'Overweight' is actually even more protective in the elderly than in the rest of the population. The county government also thought that seniors eating doughnuts was setting a bad example for the rest of the community. Um, sorry. If I make it to 80 and I want to gum down half a dozen doughnuts every morning, I've earned that right. If swearing off pastries means an extra year of life, that might not be a year worth living.

Truth be told, I'm not a huge doughnut fan. I gravitate more towards good bread and other sweets. This doughnut shop is doing a very good job at converting me, however. But what happened to the right to decide for yourself what your body needs?

This article on Junkfood Science about kids earning an "A" in business for selling contraband treats reminds me a bit of what some business-savvy seniors might do. Black market donuts. Never thought I'd see the day.

The article ends with one of the more amusing points: a description of a bag lunch at one Bronx, New York senior center. Roast beef sandwich, cranberry juice, and carrot sticks.

Carrot sticks? For an 80-year-old? How do they chew those? They'll probably wreck a tooth and then be on a soft foods diet for a while and will wind up eating doughnuts anyway.

Thanks, but no thanks.

*Since most sandwiches contain bread, wouldn't that be, like, double the infringement? I'm not sure the residents were thinking of it in that form, but it's a nice thought.


I was reading the Baltimore City Paper the other day, and found this cartoon. It's not the easiest to read, but it's so worth your time. And so relevant to this article.

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Faith said...

Damn Straight! I mean, ok, mouldy doughnuts = bad. Not allowing doughnuts for the elderly because they might have fat/sugar/carb content = ridiculous! They have made it this far, doesn't anyone think they should be left to do what they want?

I have a friend who has quit smoking until she turns 65. She is going to start again then. I am wholly on board for this plan.

mary said...

Great story Carrie!
If having a donut on occasion wasn't good for us we wouldn't have invented them! Before donuts people dipped bread in sugar/honey/maple syrup for a cake like snack. It seems that many people have a sweet tooth and like the balance. It seems sugar is often something seniors can still taste. My dad has cravings for candy now, something he never cared for in his his earlier years.[or admitted to]His stash was pistachio nuts or sunflower seeds back then.
Those seniors have always impressed me with their ability to not give a hoot about what others may think of them.
My dad once won his height in donuts... stacked dozen boxes...and all of us were impressed with that big win. He shared of course as he collected over the course of a year.

Sarah said...

I guess all the other problems seniors face are solved, then? Health care, pension gambles, cost of living spikes, etc? We can spend time on this now?

Good grief.

ms. em said...

well written, my friend.
great investigative journalism.

how is school?
i decided to go back to school myself:)

i love the new look/feel of your blog. apologies if it changed a while ago...just returning to the blogging world.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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