In the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area, atop the Mission Hills, rests Acacia Creek Retirement Community. On a beautiful campus set upon more than 300 acres of open space, residents pursue ongoing growth, personal fulfillment, and a proactive approach to creating the lifestyle they desire.
Acacia Creek is a Certified Center for Successful Aging, and residents embody best practices in all categories of wellness – physical, mental, social, and spiritual. Food plays an important role. Each day, they choose from a wide selection of flavorful, nourishing meals prepared with fresh, local produce, designed by a professional chef and reviewed by staff nutritionists.
“Eating well is an important part of the Acacia Creek resident experience,” says Executive Chef Fernando Gaeta. “I walk around the dining room during meals. I get to know the diners; to talk to them and encourage feedback,” he says.
A key aspect of this dining experience is participation. Acacia Creek resident Wilma Grice is an active member of the Culinary Committee, a group of 12 residents who meet monthly with Gaeta, Dining Room Manager Madelane Ramos, and Administrator Martin Herter. Together, the committee and staff review menus, share ideas, and brainstorm solutions to any challenges.
Sally Ward, Culinary Committee chairperson, explains that part of their role is to identify and meet people’s needs outside their own. For example, when they learned that foil butter packets were difficult for residents with arthritis to unwrap, they switched to butter balls.
“There’s always a gradual change for the better,” Grice says. “It’s a wonderful part of our community here.”