Grits for Grieving Guys teaches senior widowers skills in the kitchen

Cooking class in Saskatoon helps senior widowers cope with loss of loved one.

Saskatoon medical students created program by mixing interest in geriatric care and love for cooking

Thea Hedemann, Randy Nelson, and Jacqueline Carverhill spent five weeks together learning how to cook as part of Grits for Grieving Guys. (Steve Pasqualotto/CBC)

A program in Saskatoon is offering bereavement support for recent widowers who want to learn how to cook.

"The senior population is a very vulnerable population, especially when they get isolated when they lose a loved one," Thea Hedemann told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

Hedemann is a second year medical student at the University of Saskatchewan. She and fellow classmate, Jacqueline Carverhill, created Grits for Grieving Guys with the help of the Saskatchewan Medical Association.

According to Carverhill, the pair decided to make a five-week program that mixed their interest in geriatric care and their love for cooking.

"I think the value of the group was that we were able to bring five men together around cooking a meal but were also able to discuss commonalities and differences," Hedemann added.

Randy Nelson was one of the most recent participants.

Nelson met his wife Isabel nearly 70 years ago in Saskatoon. Last year, she passed away, and that's when the 90-year-old was approached by the Saskatoon Funeral Home about the class.

"They advised me to take it and I thought, well, I might even learn how to cook a little bit," Nelson added.

He said he had mastered the art of the peanut butter sandwich but was open to learning more.

"I think most people would be surprised with the amount of laughter that was there," he noted. "I think that was a great help for us."

Nelson said now that he has a few more recipes under his belt, he plans to try out some of his new skills on his friends.

With files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning