Community News in Middleton & Madison WI

Food from the Heart

Sheila Luhman, Attic Angel’s Director of Food Service, tells how her own passion for and knowledge of food translates to exceptional care for our residents.

This Executive Q&A from the Feb. 7, 2016, edition of the Wisconsin State Journal is reprinted here with permission.

Attic Angel's Sheila Luhman has seen food service business change

As the oldest girl in a family of seven children, Sheila Luhman, director of food service at Attic Angel Community in Madison, says she was born to cook. Thankfully, it was something she enjoyed — starting at 14, she worked at a bakery, two restaurants and two nursing homes.

When she applied to be a cook at Attic Angel in 1974, it turned out the organization was also in need of a food service director. “I was promoted to the position after just one day,” she said. “I love my job today as much as — or maybe even more than — when I started.”

Attic Angel is a senior living community that features the entire continuum of care: independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation.

Attic Angel residents live in Attic Angel Prairie Point (a neighborhood of 121 ranch-style homes for independent living) and Attic Angel Place (74 apartments with services, 56 assisted living, 44 skilled nursing and 20 memory care rooms).

QUESTION: That seems like quite an operation. What does your position involve?

ANSWER: First and foremost, my job is about relationships — relationship with food, with loved ones, with new friends and colleagues. Food is at the center. I love bringing people together and adding to their joy. But, over the years, food service has evolved to be more and more personal. Attic Angel has always recognized the importance of excellent food in the ability to enjoy life, especially among older adults. That’s why we were one of the first senior living communities to replace non-selective tray service with a selective menu — one that allows residents to select from a menu according to personal tastes and dietary needs.

Q: How has your job changed over time?

A: Many more dietary restrictions and preferences have come into play, including vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose-free, generalized diabetic and heart-healthy options, and people are more adventurous in trying ethnic cuisines. More recent changes to our food service program include buying local and building menus around the very freshest ingredients and hiring chefs who bring a higher level of education and knowledge about nutrition, cooking and presentation.

Q: How is the food service organized?

A: At Attic Angel, for our assisted living residents, we have chefs and food service staff on each floor to serve the residents on a personal level versus distributing their creations from a central kitchen. This goes a long way to build relationships with the residents. The chefs get to know the preferences of the residents and, as a bonus, they get to see the reaction to their work. This model is more home-like.

Q: What’s the most unusual thing an Attic Angel resident has asked you to cook?

A: Some of the challenging items we have been asked to prepare are baked Alaska, flaming cherries jubilee, oysters Rockefeller, leg of lamb, duck a l’orange, cheese soufflé, steamed brown bread, and hickory nut cake. One resident brought in a venison roast that he wanted us to prepare for a special dinner party. We prepare many items that were popular in the Madison area years ago, such as fudge bottom pie. We have had requests for peanut butter raisin spread, peanut butter and lettuce sandwiches, and bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich without the lettuce and tomato. Homemade poppyseed cake was a favorite family request.

Q: What’s the biggest problem with serving meals to that many people?

A: The big challenge we have relates to the variety of backgrounds and the diversity of our residents. Everyone has favorite food items, and they bring in recipes, which we appreciate. We pride ourselves on our food service so our residents have high expectations. Also, tastes change as we age, and medications can alter the taste. Some like al dente while others want very soft vegetables. Texture modifications are very important. We also participate in the Local Foods program, which meets two to three times a year to gather info on pricing and the like. We give preference to local producers, even through our major suppliers, like Sysco. We have a number of raised gardens for staff and resident use. We grow our own herbs on site for our use throughout most of the year, and occasionally residents give us vegetables that they have grown on site.

Q: With all the food shows on television, it seems cooking is “cool” among young people. But do you have trouble finding employees in Dane County?

A: We have some very long-term staff. I have been here 42 years, the dietary manager has been here 37 years and the nutritional care coordinator 32 years. Our turnover is low. I hire my waitstaff from high schools and colleges. Our cooks and chefs are usually from restaurant backgrounds. They like the definite hours and our full benefit package.

Q. People are living longer. How do you think the sheer number of elderly people will affect Attic Angel and similar communities?

A: We strive to keep people living in their homes at Prairie Point, our independent living community, as long as possible. We offer meals to be delivered at Prairie Point. Also, we are remodeling our café at Attic Angel Place to be open 24/7 and include more grab-and-go items. We are looking at building relationships with area colleges and local diversity communities to organize food service training programs in our facility so we continue to have excellent staff to meet the needs of the elderly. We attract new residents by providing a variety of food service programs that meet their needs and menu interests. The days of everyone dining at the same time are over.

 

SHEILA LUHMAN

Title: Director of Food Service at Attic Angel Community

Age: 62

Personal: Employed at Attic Angel for 42 years as director of Food Service; Husband, Bob, and two children, a son in New York and a daughter in Los Angeles. She lives in Cross Plains.

Education: Associate degree in culinary arts from Madison College; multiple certifications through the Dietary Managers Association (now the Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals)

Experience: Past board member of Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals, both national organization and Wisconsin chapter; current legislative liaison for the Wisconsin Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals; 2011 ATHENA Award recipient for leadership as a food professional.

Company: Attic Angel Community

Address: 8301 Old Sauk Road, Middleton

Founded: 1889

Number of employees: 286 at Attic Angel Community, including 50 in the Food Service Department, where she is the director

Description of company and its components: Attic Angel Community is a senior living community featuring the entire continuum of care: independent living, assisted living, memory care, long-term skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation. Attic Angel residents live in Attic Angel Prairie Point (a beautiful neighborhood of 121 ranch-style homes for carefree independent living) and Attic Angel Place (74 apartments with services, 36 assisted living, 44 skilled nursing and 20 memory care rooms). In addition, Attic Angel Association dates back to 1889 with historic, impactful service to children and seniors in the Madison community.

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce logo
Middleton Chamber
Contest Rules

Contest Rules for Attic Angel Association's WIN ICE CREAM FOR A YEAR drawing

1. Eligibility. A) Eligible Individuals: One entry per person and one winner per family. Multiple entries by the same person may be discarded and deemed cause for disqualification. In the case of two names from the same family drawn as prize winners, only the first name drawn will receive one of the two prizes. Any subsequent name from the same family will be disqualified. B) Ineligible individuals: Employees and board members of The Playing Field early learning center (beneficiary of the Attic Angel 130th anniversary fundraising project), salaried employees and board members of any Attic Angel Association corporation and their respective immediate family and household members are not eligible to win the drawing. C) Eligible Entries: Entries will be accepted between March 1, 2019, and December 15, 2019. Entries received outside of the Entry Period and incomplete entries, duplicate or multiple entries are void. Attic Angel Association is not responsible for any delay in receipt of entries caused by the mail system or internet providers. 

2. Winners. A random drawing will be held Monday, December 16, 2019. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. The two winners will be notified immediately by phone and/or email. Winners will also be announced on social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Attic Angel Association may further request winners to be photographed for social media and news announcements as part of its 130th anniversary celebration.

3. Prizes. A) Here’s the Scoop: Each of two prizes includes 52 coupons good for a free scoop of Chocolate Shoppe ice cream every week of the year, with a total retail value of each prize at $200. Prizes are good at any of the seven (7) retail Chocolate Shoppe locations in the Madison area. Prizes are not valid at events, are not transferable, and are limited to 1 per customer per day. B) Pickup: Prizes must be picked up by Dec. 31, 2019, during NORMAL business hours, Monday-Friday at the Attic Angel Association headquarters at 640 Junction Road, Madison, WI 53717. It is the responsibility of the winner to claim the prize within 15 days. C) Ya Get Whatcha Get: Winners may not request substitution or other consideration from the Free Ice Cream for a Year prize from Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. Attic Angel Association or Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream will not be responsible, or be held liable, for prizes awarded that go unused within the timeframe allowed on the coupon, or that become unusable due to circumstances beyond our control. Attic Angel Association, Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream and representatives shall not be liable for any claim, injury or damage that may result from the prize awarded.

4. No purchase or financial donation necessary to win. While automatic entry is granted to anyone making a financial gift to the playground fundraiser, no financial gift or pledge is required to qualify for the drawing. To enter manually, please fill out an entry form at the Attic Angel Association 130th birthday event from 1 to 4 pm on July 28, 2019, held at the intersection of Junction and Old Sauk roads in Madison, Wisconsin (atticangel.org/130). In lieu of attendance, you may send a 3x5 card with your name, address, phone number, email address and birth date to:

Attic Angel Association Ice Cream Drawing
640 Junction Road
Madison, WI 53717

Any mailed entry must be postmarked by December 10, 2019, and received by December 15, 2019, to be entered to win.

5. Privacy. All contest entries become the property of Attic Angel Association. Personal information provided on the paper entry forms will not be shared with a third party and will be used solely for purposes of determining winners of the drawing. The forms will be shredded after the drawing is complete and prizes have been awarded. For anyone who makes a gift to the fundraising project, and is automatically entered into the drawing, personal information will not be shared with a third party. Attic Angel Association may use the information for follow-up gift receipts and additional giving opportunities, for which the recipient may opt out.

These rules are subject to change without notice.

Map and Activities

 Click to download

Attic Angel 130th Birthday Party

Additional Celebrations that Day:

Attic Angel Prairie Point, our neighborhood of independent ranch-style homes, will host a simultaneous celebration that’s open to the public. Bring a lawn chair for an afternoon of outdoor music, fun and relaxation from 1 to 4 pm. A shuttle van will transport visitors to and from Attic Angel’s main campus event.

Attic Angel’s Health Center and Haven invite family and friends of residents at 10:30 am to enjoy entertainment and snacks to celebrate Attic Angel Association’s impact on the health and well-being of Madison. See The Carillon (resident newsletter) for details.

I want to party with the Angels!



Our citywide birthday party is FREE to attend!

In lieu of admission, please consider a birthday gift donation to help us build a playground for homeless children and others enrolled at The Playing Field early learning center. You’ll automatically be entered to win ICE CREAM FOR A YEAR from Madison’s Chocolate Shoppe!

Playground Plans

Playground images, plans...

(I think we should include a link to a page that shows the playground plans/ needs and explains the importance for serving kids of trauma and challenge. will need to get info from TPF. This link must have a way for readers to navigate back to other parts of the site; this link can include another link – in a new window – to playingfieldmadison.org

Thank you!

130th Birthday Playground Fundraiser

Thank you for your gift to honor Attic Angel Association’s 130th birthday! Our goal is to engage the entire community in raising $50,000 for a playground that will serve homeless children and others enrolled at The Playing Field early learning center in Madison.

Your donation is a wonderful birthday gift to celebrate and extend Attic Angel’s 130 years of caring for community. You will automatically be entered to win ICE CREAM FOR A YEAR from Madison’s Chocolate Shoppe! Click here for contest rules.

For 130 years, our Attic Angels have shown that many hearts and hands can make a big impact, and we thank you for becoming part of our Madison legacy!

P.S. Gifts of $25 or more will also get a receipt in the mail for your tax records. Please note that this email will be the only documentation provided for gifts of less than $25.

List of Activities
  • UW Marching Band and Bucky
  • Free Birthday Custard
  • Magic Shows
  • Trishaw Bike Rides
  • Zoo and Pet Exhibits
  • Anji Play Park
  • Musical Playtime
  • Solar Panel Magic
  • Remote Control Boating
  • Kickboxing and Tai Chi Samplers
  • Scooter Test Drives
  • Technology Exploration (Virtual Reality, Wii games, Access to Independence)
  • Photo Fun
  • Angel Tattoos and Fan Decorating
  • Giant Lawn Games, Sidewalk Chalk, Hula Hoops
  • Health & Safety Exploration (Fire, EMS, Mounted Police, K9 Unit)
  • And More!
 Download the Map

Additional Celebrations that Day:

Attic Angel Prairie Point, our neighborhood of independent ranch-style homes, will host a simultaneous celebration that’s open to the public. Bring a lawn chair for an afternoon of outdoor music, fun and relaxation from 1 to 4 pm. A shuttle van will transport visitors to and from Attic Angel’s main campus event.

Attic Angel’s Health Center and Haven invite family and friends of residents at 10:30 am to enjoy entertainment and snacks to celebrate Attic Angel Association’s impact on the health and well-being of Madison. See The Carillon (resident newsletter) for details.