A reader sent us a link to an article entitled: Seniors Balk at Ban on Free Donuts that I thought was just too bizarre not to pass along. Apparently, in an effort to upgrade the nutrition offered to their senior clientèle, the powers that be at the William Koehler Memorial Senior Center (in New York) decided to remove donuts (as well as pies and other packaged pastries) from the menu. The response to this seemingly positive and innocuous move probably took the administration by surprise.
A generation ago, such a move might have incited a few quiet grumbles and grouses from the wizened silver heads, but the newest members of the burgeoning senior generation of today were the flower children of the 60s. They don’t grumble; they protest. With signs.
In the article, CSPI’s Michael Jacobsen (whom I rarely agree with) makes the valid point:
older people have high rates of heart disease and high blood pressure and…senior citizen centers, nursing homes, and assisted-living centers should not be worsening the health problems of seniors.
I agree with him for once. Assuming that the center receives government funds, tax dollars shouldn’t be used to support high-carb, trans-fat junk food nutrition for a group of people who are likely to be insulin resistant and probably already taking a laundry list of medications (perhaps paid for in part by the Medicare Prescription Plan) to lower their blood pressure, blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. And probably proton-pump inhibitors and acid blockers, too, for their GERD, which dining on Danish will only further exacerbate.
The protesters were trying to make this a matter of choice and rights–their right to choose what will be served to them at the center–but that argument won’t hold water. To my knowledge, the founders did not guarantee us an inalienable right to free jelly donuts. Don’t misunderstand my point here; however much I might disagree with the choice to go face first into a plate of jelly donuts, I’m the first to stand up for a person’s right to choose to engage in self-destructive behavior, so long as it doesn’t infringe on another person’s right to choose not to do so. But that’s not what’s going on here.
Nobody’s saying they can’t have their cake and eat it, too. Just that they’re no longer going to buy it for them.
(Hat tip to Jenny J. for the link.)