We support your loved one to make mealtime choices in a way that suits them best. Our teams show residents plated meals to support them to make choices, and if one-to-one support is needed, a colleague will sit with your loved one to help them to eat at a comfortable pace.
How and where a resident is served their meal influences how much they enjoy it, and how much they eat. Dining is an important social occasion – a chance for friends and family to get together. Mealtimes are an opportunity to enhance residents’ health and wellbeing, not only through food and nutrition, but by catching up with friends, enjoying a shared routine and reminiscing about favourite foods, special meals and cooking for families. This is hugely beneficial to residents who are living with dementia.
Our teams get to know your loved one so well that they quickly spot if your loved one’s appetite or dietary requirements change. They offer alternative menu options or suggest a different time to eat – our nurses, carers and kitchen colleagues work closely to ensure your loved one’s preferences are met.
Your loved one is welcome to dine in their own room, but we do encourage residents to eat together in our dining areas so they can make the most of this valuable social time.
Residents often play a part in preparing meals. This can include growing ingredients for meals, such as herbs, tomatoes and potatoes, in their home’s garden, peeling vegetables, laying the tables or tidying up. Your loved one is welcome to continue enjoying these familiar tasks if they wish. As well as being a great source of reminiscence such tasks promote independence and daily living skills.
We always aim to deliver a high-quality, tailored dining experience. Our hospitality expertise means we play close attention to table presentation, ensuring cutlery, crockery and drinking vessels meet residents’ unique needs and that our table service is sensitively and safely delivered.
We support residents who are living with dementia, impaired vision or dexterity difficulties to enjoy an independent dining experience, using bespoke high-rimmed crockery, adapted cutlery and tablecloths in contrasting colours to enable residents to continue enjoying their food.
Noise and bustle are always kept to a minimum during mealtimes to avoid any off-putting distractions. The goal is always for mealtimes to be relaxing. There’s often gentle music playing, and colleagues always sit and chat to residents and even eat with them. These are all proven ways to encourage residents to enjoy their meal and eat well.
Baking and cooking were important activities in many residents’ lives, so we offer regular opportunities to support residents to continue doing what they love. They even develop special creations alongside our chefs: our annual Care UK Christmas cake competition produces some truly amazing cakes. Things get pretty competitive!
We also hold special food-related events such as inviting Dr Polly Russell, food historian from BBC’s Back in Time for Tea programme, to deliver our Food for Thought initiative. Dr Polly worked with our chefs and homes to recreate much loved dishes from the past, which residents could taste and reminisce over whilst learning more about the history and origins of the food.
At Care UK we employ some of the leading figures in care home catering, both in our central Food and Hotel Services team, and in our individual homes. They continue to drive innovation in care home catering and the dining experience that residents enjoy.
Our people regularly share their knowledge through free information sessions, specialist recipe books that cater for people needing modified diets, and guides for family carers keen to support older loved ones with nutrition and hydration. These free guides include our Eating as we age guide.