Blog | June 04, 2012

CLARESHOLM – The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees will unveil a documentary film tonight exposing the poor quality of food being served in small health facilities and seniors residences operated by Alberta Health Services across the province.The documentary, “Tough To Swallow: Meals That Sparked A Seniors Revolt,” will debut at a free public screening in Claresholm, its primary location. The screening will be at 6 p.m. at West Meadow Elementary School, 5613 – 8 Ave W. Media are invited to attend.  The film can also be viewed at 2010, Alberta Health Services began phasing out full-service kitchens in nearly 80 facilities with fewer than 125 beds, most of which were rural and small-town hospitals and seniors’ facilities. Fresh meals were replaced with pre-cooked “heat and serve” dishes trucked in from warehouses in large cities.Across the province, families of elderly residents in these homes were outraged, calling the tasteless, unappealing meals an affront to their loved ones’ dignity. Many residents refuse to eat the meals.Food services budgets for 19 facilities using the new system, obtained by AUPE through a Freedom of Information request, showed that on average, their costs had increased six per cent.“So what’s the benefit here?” said AUPE Vice-President Karen Weiers, who will be at the screening. “We’re robbing the people who built this province of their dignity and it’s costing taxpayers more.”The film follows Claresholm residents who have been fighting for two years to get AHS to restore the full-service kitchens. It also features food journalist, restaurant critic, broadcaster and author John Gilchrist, who sampled some of the meals and referred to them as “crap.” Gilchrist will be at the screening.“I hope the film draws public attention to this injustice so the government will do the right thing and show more respect for the elderly,” said Weiers.-30-For more information, contact:Karen Weiers, AUPE Vice-President: (403) 561-2482Andrew Hanon, AUPE communications: (780) 932-7644Read the full release here.