March 21 2016
Designed to help anyone who experiences problems with eating or drinking, as well as those caring for an older friend or relative, Eating as we age is an easy-to-follow guide which pools the expertise of Care UK’s chefs and the experiences of its care professionals.
Eating as we age answers the most common questions and concerns people have about the health and wellbeing of their loved ones as they get older. Offering practical tips for nutrition, hydration and dining with dignity alongside recipe inspiration, the guide also addresses specific issues such as how to stimulate diminishing appetites, the best ways of fortifying foods, and supporting people living with dementia to eat well and stay hydrated.
According to a survey of 1,000 people with parents over 70, which was recently carried out by Care UK, three in 10 of those in the south east have not seen their loved ones eat a full meal prepared by themselves over the last six months.
The survey also revealed 15 per cent of older people in the south east eat more convenience food than home-cooked food, while over 40 per cent of respondents in the region have noticed their mum or dad eating smaller portions than they used to. Indeed one in 10 have seen them swapping out meals in favour of a small snack.
Helena Barrow, home manager at Bowes House, said: “With over 7,000 people living in Care UK care homes across the UK, day-in, day-out we see the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet, with old age and illness often putting a strain on the body.
“We understand how tough it can be for family carers when loved ones’ appetites diminish, and they lose interest in mealtimes; while dementia can also bring with it many challenges.
“However, the smallest of changes can lead to big improvements in the health and wellbeing of older people; and we have collated a family-friendly guide which is full of tried-and-tested tips as well as nutritious recipe ideas, which we hope will make a real difference.
“From the colour of the tablecloth and table settings, to the sights and sounds of the kitchen and dining room; from adding the occasional spoonful of cream and butter to boost the calorie content of every-day foods, to replacing salt with lime juice, the guide provides simple solutions for overcoming common problems around eating well and staying properly hydrated in all weathers.”
According to the findings of Care UK’s survey, almost 20 per cent of older people in the south east find it difficult to prepare dinner, with over a third needing regular support to prepare and cook meals.
Helena continued: “Eating as we age also has a chapter dedicated to ‘dining with dignity’, as its just as important to support older people to continue enjoying the social experience of dining. A good mealtime experience can encourage people to eat more and have a hugely positive impact on their overall wellbeing.
“The guide also provides tips for involving older people in the preparation of food for themselves and others, where possible, as these kinds of activities can be relaxing and therapeutic – particularly for those living with dementia.
“To pick up your free copy of Eating as we age, pop-in to Bowes House, or download the guide at www.careuk.com/eat. Our doors are always open, and our trained chefs are on hand to talk to people about how they cater for the changing needs and tastes of older people.”