20 November 2014
How Can A Good Diet Improve Quality Of Life For Older People?
Food is a big part of everyone’s lives – everyone enjoys a good meal, whether they’re cooking at home or going out to a restaurant with their loved ones. Our team at Hallmark Care Homes recognise this, which is why our meals are more than just nutrition; they’re about quality of life. Read on to discover why we believe a good diet is essential to ensure our residents enjoy a healthy and fulfilling life.
Individual Well Being
When it comes to food, everyone has their own unique likes and dislikes, as well as their own dietary requirements, for example to account for allergies or difficulty swallowing or chewing. Our team make sure to cater for each of our residents’ needs by getting to know their likes and dislikes. One of the ways we get to know our residents is with our ‘About Me’ booklets, which we give to each new resident. In this book, each resident and their family can write about what they like and dislike, including their hobbies, their preferred name, their routine, and importantly their favourite and least favourite foods.
This booklet then helps the team to get to know each of our residents, ensuring they can enjoy the food they like in the way they like. For example, many of our residents like to follow their own schedules, perhaps having breakfast at six, lunch at twelve, and dinner at five. Meanwhile, others will want to eat at completely different times! By ensuring each of our residents are able to eat what they like at the time they like, our residents can continue to enjoy their lives as they did before joining us.
Independence and Involvement
While lots of our residents enjoy having our team cater for their every need, many enjoy taking part in preparing for meal times as they did when they lived at home. We always give our residents opportunities to join in with activities they enjoy, and meal times are no different. This can include giving our residents opportunities to take part in preparing their meals, laying the table and other activities, which really helps making our care homes feel like home and helps our residents maintain their independence. Similarly, we encourage our residents to get involved in events like the British Food Fortnight. Last year, residents were given the opportunity to create new recipes using turkey as the main ingredient.
Other residents prefer to have their meals cooked for them, and for good reason! Our talented chefs like Jayne Lee have won several awards for their food, and pride themselves in cooking food that meets the needs of our residents. We make sure there’s always plenty of choice at meal times, giving independence to our residents. And because residents like to have their food at different times of day based on their daily routines, our dining rooms always offer a very sociable and enjoyable experience, allowing residents and relatives to get together and chat.
Meeting Dietary Requirements
Everyone has their own unique dietary requirements. For example, some people are slower than others at eating, and a large plate of food can appear overwhelming and off-putting.
Some of our residents have other requirements, such as soft, moist, and easy to swallow food, while others may have difficulty holding cutlery. We work with residents and their families to ensure we meet all of our residents’ needs, including ensuring they have food that they can eat and that they enjoy, giving them assistance if necessary.
Fresh, Nutritional Food
A healthy diet is essential for older people to ensure they are able to enjoy a high quality of life. We use fresh seasonal produce, locally sourced where possible, with meals designed to be both appetising and nutritionally balanced. Our meals are designed to include all the essential vitamins including D and B, fibre, calcium, and food such as oily fish to aid joint health and mobility.
But it’s not just food that contributes to a good diet, daily activity is also important to build up an appetite. Each of our care homes provides a wide range of activities such as gardening competitions, seated movement classes and more, helping residents to exercise and keep their metabolisms up.
Diet and meal choices play an important part in the quality of life of our residents, not only keeping them healthy, but also to help them live their lives in the way they are used to.
If you’d like to find out more about the care we provide please click here, or get in touch with one of our care homes!