Aging in Style with Lori Williams
Aging in Style with Lori Williams

Episode · 1 year ago

013. Chefs for Seniors: a service providing nutritious food and companionship


There are 2 common reasons seniors move to senior living: not eating properly and the need for companionship. Chefs for Seniors addresses both.  

Dr. Shaneka Baylor is a franchise owner with Chefs for Seniors in Arlington / Grand Prairie. She’s a board-certified geriatric and ambulatory care clinical pharmacist and certified diabetes educator with the motto “Healthy eating can be tasty.”  

Though she worked as a pharmacist for 12 years, her desire to serve the senior community through food led her to combine her passions. Chefs for Seniors gives peace of mind to seniors by creating delicious and nutritious meals that can be customized to address a variety of dietary concerns. Dr. Baylor noticed when she was a pharmacist that many chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can be helped with the right diet. 

Chefs for Seniors makes it easy, starting with a consultation to get an idea of the individual’s needs, as well as an in-home assessment. Chefs come with their own equipment to the home and meal preps for the week - also providing seniors a great opportunity to connect with another person and weigh in on their meals. 

- Chefs for Seniors is a great option for those who have had surgery, need help with nutrition or simply want to avoid grocery stores.

- It can be a short- or long-term solution; there are no contracts.

- The standard service includes 5 weeks of rotating meals where you can choose 4 menu items from among 12 options each week. Each meal offers multiple portions.

- Meals are labeled so you know if it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, kosher, etc. Plus, custom meal plans are available for those with health issues and allergies.

- Chefs can connect with doctors and dieticians to help create an individual meal plan.

- Due to COVID-19, chefs take special safety measures: wearing masks, wiping down commonly touched surfaces, maintaining 6 feet of distance and much more.

- Chefs spend roughly 2 hours cooking and talking with you each week about what works and what doesn’t, how to reheat food, and even how to make your favorite dishes from childhood. 

- Long-term care insurance may reimburse you for this service.

Topics discussed in this episode:

- How Chefs for Seniors works

- The importance of diet and nutrition

- Diet and chronic diseases / conditions

- Companionship and routine

- How COVID-19 has affected this service

To connect to Dr. Shaneka and to learn more about Chefs for Seniors Arlington & Grand Prairie please visit:
Dr. Shaneka Baylor:

If you wish to suggest a topic, be a guest or want to support the podcast please email or reach out online:

Welcome to aging install with me,Laurie Williams. I'm an optimist by nature and I believe you can follow yourdreams at any age. My grandmother's journey with dementia ignited a passion in meto work with seniors. I've spent the past thirteen years learning about seniors andaging. In my mid S, I followed my own dream and found itmy company, where I use my expertise to help seniors locate housing and resources. On this podcast, we cover all aspects of aging. Joanna's each weekto meet senior living experts and inspirational seniors who are following their dreams. Thefact is, we're all aging, so why not do it in style?Hi, welcome to aging install with Laurie Williams. I'm so glad you're heretoday and I have a really fun show. We are going to be talking withShinika Baylor with chefs for seniors, and if you haven't heard of chefsfor seniors, I think you're going to be really blown away by this concept. I think it's when I first heard about it I thought this is brilliant. Why didn't someone think of this before? So we're going to get started andlet me just introduce you to Shanika first, and then we'll dive inand she can tell you all about chefs for seniors and how it works.So Dr Shinika Baylor is a board certified geriatric and ambulatory care clinical pharmacist,as well as a certified diabetes educator. She received her bachelor of Science andbiology from dillard university and her doctor of Pharmacy Degree from the College of Pharmacyand Health Sciences at Texas Southern University. She also completed her postgraduate pharmacy practiceresidency and Public Health at the University of Missouri Kansas City, in conjunction withthe Kansas City free health clinic. Healthy eating can be tasty is the mottothat Dr Baylor believes in, and this belief, as well as a desireto serve the senior community, led her to become a franchise owners of chefsfor Seniors Arlington Grand Prairies, the area she's in. It's an inhome mealpreparation service that focuses on creating delicious,...

...healthy, nutritious meals that can becustomized to address specific dietary concerns. She's also the founder and CEO of DivineHands, health and wellness LLC, where she focuses on the total person,providing medication assessments and counseling for clients, as well as providing them with nutritioncounseling that is based upon their medications and the health goals they want to meet. So, welcome. I'm so glad you're on the show. So tellus, let's just jump into it. Tell us all about what led youto make a career change, because you started as a pharmacist and, youknow, led you to working with seniors and helping them with healthy, nutritiousmeals. Well, thank you so much for having me today, Lori.Yes, so I've been a pharmacist twelve years now. Time goes by sofast, and the last six years that I was working as a clinical pharmacist, of large part of my population were seniors, and so, you know, with my daytoday, especially having a lot of seniors that had diabetes orhigh blood pressure, they had heart conditions or copd or asthma, you know, I just really realized that a lot of the things that were going onwere food related. Sometimes, you know, it's not being able to afford theright thing. Sometimes it's not being able to cook the right thing.Sometimes it's just not knowing or you know, if you were diagnosed with something twentyor thirty years ago, the conversation that your doctor or your pharmacists wouldhave had with you then is different than the conversation that you know, wewould have with you now about the total thing, not just the medications,but changing your diet and your lifestyle. So, you know, that wasa big part of it. But then I also had my own health journeywhere, you know, I had gained, who about thirty five forty pounds,you know, and I was just really working to be healthier myself.So as I started getting healthier, I got more into food and, youknow, cooking healthy and finding the ways... cook healthy for me, anda lot of my co workers noticed it and so did my patient. Sobecause, you know, obviously you're living that daytoday life and people see thephysical change that you're doing also. So you know, I was just lookingfor how I could really tie my love for seniors, my love for foodand all of those things together. And, like I said, you know,healthy eating can be new, you know can be tasty, but alot of people think, Oh, if it's healthy, it's not going tobe good. So my mom actually had a friend that was using chefs forseniors in the Houston area and when I found out about I was like,oh my gosh, let me look into this. And you know, wejust I met with the franchise ors and we were just both on the samepage and you know, I took the big leap in November and left myjob to pursue this full time because I really believe in it. Yeah,you know, I can hear the passion in your voice and w when we'vetalked before, I can tell this is what you are meant to be doing. So chefs were seniors is a franchise. How I mean I just heard aboutit, probably around November. When did it start? Is it fairlynew? So they actually started the company in two thousand and fourteen and theoriginal franchisers. He's been a chef for, you know, thirty years or somewhatlike that and was looking to get out of the restaurant business but notedthat a lot of his everyday regulars were seniors and that the good meal thatthey got every day was when they were coming into the his restaurant. Butthe other part you know that's also really important and will touch on later.Was the companionship part because at the time, you know, his motherin law,I believe, was ill and so they were trying to figure out howthey could take care of her so she could age in place and not haveto go to, you know, a senior living facility, because sometimes thoseare expensive to and be able to provide the proper nutrition. And so chefor seniors was born out of those two...

...things from them. Think it,and I said earlier, I think it's brilliant, because the two main reasonsseniors end up needing to move to senior living or that we see a declineis because they're not eating properly, not getting good nutrition, and that they'relonely. So chefs for seniors, the way it works, it takes cure, addresses both of those needs. So tell us how the program works.So it's a very simple concept. You know, you can either find uson some people google us. You know, we connect with senior service advisors orwe, you know, also connect with discharge planners and things like that, so they know that the services are available. We're on facebook also,and then, you know, they'll contact us, will go in their homeand do a consultation kind of find out what it is they're looking for.Or sometimes children of the parents, you know, that are looking for somethingfor their mom or Dad, will contact us also and then we'll go in, do an in home assessment, make sure the kitchen is viable so thatwe can cook in the kitchen and then, you know, discuss the options withthem what it is they're looking for. We offer a couple of different options. We have a standard service, which is five weeks of rotating mealsand there's twelve options on each of those and they can select four menu itemsfrom there and then we can obviously make a few as sense, you knowchanges. So if they don't like green beings, we can do roughly,or you don't want ground beef, we can do ground Turkey or, youknow, simple swaps like that. But all of the food items are listedso that they are labeled so that you know if they're dairy free or diabeticfriendly or, you know, lowcoester all or dairy free, things like that, and then we'll come in. After that we go grocery shopping each weekbefore we come in and do the service for them, so they don't haveto worry about the groceries and then we come in with our we call itour tool kit, but it's our pots and pants, so they don't haveto worry about US using, you know, their pots and pants or anything likethat, and we come in and...

...we cook for them. And so, you know, the service takes about two to two and a half hours, depending on what they're selecting. Pre covid the idea was really that theywould come and, you know, sit around and we would have conversation whilethe chef is cooking. Then we would when we're all the foods are cooking, we'll talk about the next week's meal plants, finish up package all ofthe food, label all the food, give them the reheating instructions, cleanup and then come the next week. And then we also have a bitof a more custom service. So if they have more health issues or theyjust don't like what's on those standard menus, then we can do more of acustom meal plan for them to Crete. So if they're picky, you canaddress that. So I mean I I would personally love for someone tocome to my house every maybe Sunday morning and say, Lori, let's makea plan for the week and then I'm going to go grocery shop and thenI'm going to come to your house and I'm going to cook it all withmy stuff and clean it up and leave. I mean, that's beautiful. Yeah, and that was kind of the thing because you know, like youtouched on earlier, one of the things about seeing yours especially, or maybeyou know you just got now, the hospitals. So for the first threeor four months when you're rehab me you can't stand up like you would before, you know, or you're just not physically able right now. So wecan come in so you don't have to worry about that. So yeah,you know you don't have to go to a skilled nursing facility or something likethat, because the only thing that you're you know, you can still havein Home Rehab. Now you have somebody to cut the food for you too, so you don't have anything to worry about. That's nice. So itcould be you just a short term solution if you are having surgery or youbroke your hip or something like that, so as you recover, or itcould be long term. Absolutely absolutely. And so do you typically do formeals or is it up to the person how many meals they want for theweek. So now it's typically for meals, because that way we're making sure theyhave a week's worth of meal.

And then, you know, everyweek we're following up with them. How did you like it last week?Is there any changes with a portion to especially in the beginning, with theportion too big? Was the portion too small? So you know, aswe're shopping each week, because we really just shot enough groceries for what we'remaking for the week because again, with seniors, you know that they don'twant a lot of extra foods and their refrigerator and their pantry. So youknow, we're also trying to make sure that we're not leaving a lot ofexcess, so it's just enough for what we're cooking. So if it is, you know, a little bit too much, then we know, okay, maybe we only need to get this twelve pound. I mean sign uptwelve pound. Yet twelve pound piece of pork Goin and the seen, youknow, sixteen outs, things like that. So we make those little adjustments aswe're going. Then there are a lot of the meals are freezer safeto so if somebody still wants to cook a little bit, you know,they have the option to say, why don't you come every other week andthen that way you know we're rotating. So they'll put a few of themeals and the freezer will let them know which ones are freezer friendly and thatway they can just rotate in and out. That's a great idea. I likethat. What are some of their favorite meals? So, meat loaf, of course, meet love. Yes, we make a chicken Popeye, soI have people that really like that, and then a couple of the keishesthat we make, like there's a soundon and lead keys, so theyreally like that too. And then if they have some recipes that they,you know, used to make and just can't make it anymore, will makethose for them too, so that they can have their old favorites that still, you know, make them remember something that they used to really love.Oh, that's really nice. So it's very much a custom plan that youcan do for for them. Yes, and if they want, you know, especially for those that really have more dietary issues, they can connect uswith if they have a Dietitian or, you know, with their position,and we can connect with them and, you know, really work out aplan also to make sure they're getting the...

...right mills that they need. HMM, great. So now we touched on it when you were telling us abouthow it all works. But covid, of course, has changed some thingsbecause normally, like you said, you would be able to sit and visitand kind of have that take care of that loneliness piece. So how hascovid change things? How are you having to to do the business now?Can, I guess, they have to be in the other room or canthey be there with you? But we wear our mask at all times whenwe're cooking. So for that two and a half hours that we're in thehome, we are wearing our masks. We wipe down the counters before andafter to make sure and the handles on the doors and things that we've touched, you know, to make sure that we're sanitizing it. We do askthat they go in another room, especially if they have, you know,secondary health issues that could really make them more susceptible. But for those whodon't, you know, we're just asking that they stay at least six feetaway. So if the kitchen is large enough that they can be on inthe dining area while we're cooking, then they can still sit in there andwe'll ask them to wear a mask also just for them. But we arealways mass very good and I was looking on your website about how it's paidfor. So it's primarily it's private pay, but I did see that there aresome occasions where long term care insurance might pay for it, as wellas some Medicare advantage plans. So tell us a little bit about that.That's correct. So a lot of times when the either the client or theirchild, you know, is reaching and they will ask, I'll tell themthat they just need to contact if they had long term care, you know, they would just need to contact them and ask them. In a lotof times long term care will reimburse them. So the clients still might have topay up front, but then the long term care will reimburse them.And the same with Medicare advantage. You know it's a little bit more commonwith the long term care right now, but are you know, in themidst of this covid and everything else, I'm hoping that Medicare advantage sees the, you know, the benefit of this...

...because you know, anybody that's inhealth in like that, you know that nutrition is one of the cornerstones ofhelping people be healthy and especially with the more that they're eating properly, thequicker they can recover, they're getting their protein needs. So all of thosethings help to keep them healthier and keep them out of the hospital. Yeah, absolutely, and I would think, especially now with Covid, that thisis such a great plan for people to because we really don't want our seniorsgoing out to the grocery store being around more and more people where they couldget sick. But such a nice benefit to have you do their grocery shoppingand come in and cook and they're not having to go out at just thatone point of contact. And you know, we temperate check ourselves too, soobviously if we're not feeling well, we're not going to go in.And then, of course we ask them if they're not feeling well, tolet us know so that we owe you know, to their house and thenbring something either to our family or to another one of our clients. Soyeah, yeah, I think it's important. And you know we're getting into what'sgoing to be coffin cold season. Yeah, so you know, youadd that on top of covid and the unknown. You know, I justthink for our seniors. They give them the opportunity because, hey, youcould still order some groceries, but if you can't physically cook them or anythingelse, then you're still kind of stuck. MMM. And I think it's alsoI think seniors, a lot of them, are having to learn duringCovid, you know, to use these services like, you know, upereats or the grocery store APPs to have food delivered. But a lot ofsenior still don't know how to use that and you know, it can beconfusing for them. So I mean, I think that's such a great benefit. They don't have to try and figure out how to use an APP toget groceries, you know, and that part. And then if they're orderingthe food, how healthy is the food that they're really true, Oh,you know, when I come into your kitchen, that you're getting all thegood, wholesome ingredients cook just right to your specifications. So we're really makingsure that you get healthy stuff, not... food or maybe extra, youknow, greasy things or things like that. MMM, definitely. Now I knowthat you will. You've always worked with seniors as a pharmacist too.So I like to ask people, is there one person that you've come acrossin your life, either you know doing working or someone from your family,someone who's just been a very inspirational senior to you. I would say mygrandmother. Yeah, she's and actually she just had her birthday last week.She turned ninety four. Wow. As a kid, I when my momworked, I would stay with my grandmother and she was like a patient nowis it would be a patient care, you know, advocate, but shewould take her patients to the doctor and things like that and she would takeme with her and I just always really loved how she cared for other peopleand would watch her in the kitchen cooking for us on holidays and things likethat. So she's always been one of my inspirations. It's so funny tome, and I've mentioned this on other podcast, that so many people theirinspiration is or grandmother. Mind's my grandmother too, so I just I thinkthat's go grandma's you know, and realize it sometimes, you know, andso you look back over your fan you know, you see some of thethings that they did, because you don't think of the mess seniors when you'relittle, you know. HM, just grandma. Yeah, but yes,she's just she's always been a inspiration for me. That's wonderful. So now, if someone wanted to reach you, so you cover Arlington, Grand Pariride, that true Frenchise area. So if someone wanted to contact you, howwould they go about doing that? So also add mansfield to the area.Is Good. It'll but we do do man's feel. So, but theycould go to our website. So chef for Seniorscom. If they scroll downthey can find us in the Texas area. The website is really long, soI don't want to uh, we'll put it on the podcast too.Will have the link easier to do that. They can email me, and sothat's going to be Shinika dot Baylor... chefs for Seniorscom. Or,you know, they can find us on facebook. Chef for Seniors Arlington GrandParrie is on facebook and they can send me a message there or they cangoogle us and they can find email me or message me from Google also.Okay, perfect. And, like I said, we'll put the links andeverything on the podcast to the people can find you because they think it's sucha such a valuable service with the franchise. Are Are Y'all in every state nowor do you know? Not Quite yet, but hopefully. You know, I know we just three new franchises, I believe, just finally started.COVID. You know, had slowed them down and the train, sothey're finally opening up. There's so I believe we're up to fifty franchises,but not in all fifty states just yet, but you know, in a lotof the big states of Florida, Texas, California, DC, Maryland, area of Virginia. So we you know, we do have quite areach thus far. Yeah, and I really believe this is going to besomething that grows, yes, like crazy, because if people continue to age and, you know, life continues to change and people are looking for otheropportunities to stay home. And you know, now covid really has people deciding theywant to live at home for a lot of different reasons exactly. Andyou know, when we say home, just so people think about this,it's not just, you know, their house that they live in, butthey could be in the senior apartment and you can still come in and domeals for them. It's absolutely correct. If they're in the senior apartment thathas, you know, a working kitchen, we absolutely can come and cook inthere as well, yeah, that's great. So many good options.Well, thank you so much for joining in and sharing all this great information. When I first heard about this and then I saw you on, Ithink facebook or something, I saw you somewhere and I'm like, Oh,I have to have her on the show to talk about this as no,it's amazing and I'm so glad to be able to talk about it because,you know, like you said, nutrition...

...and health and seniors are all partof my passion and my purpose. I really believe in it and I wouldtalk about it all day if I could. I love it and I'm so gladyou found your purpose and it's just with your background. It's so it'sso perfect. So thank you again. I really appreciate you being on andagain listen to US next week and we'll have another show. But if youhave any questions, when I reach out to Shinika, I'll have all ourinformation and if you like the show, give us a good rating on thepodcast and if you have any other ideas for shows that you'd like to see, please just send me a message. We're open to sharing information and educatingon all different topics. Thanks for joining by bye.

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