Whitstable care home dines through the decades with special guest

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Residents at a care home in Whitstable welcomed a special guest for a trip down memory lane.

Care UK’s Harrier Lodge, on Thanet Way, were joined virtually by BBC food historian, Dr Polly Russell, from Back in Time for… for a live interactive food tasting session designed to transport residents back to their younger years.

Whitstable care home dines through the decades with special guestPartnering with Care UK for the Food for Thought initiative, which sees care homes across the country celebrate their favourite foods throughout the decades, Dr Polly has worked alongside Care UK chefs to create a unique reminiscence tasting menu. The menu features iconic foods from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s and is designed to be used a sensory tool to encourage reminiscence in older people.

As part of the event, the home’s talented chef, Alex Weber, prepared an array of bitesize delights from the menu, including kedgeree, prawn cocktail and black forest gateau, for residents to enjoy while Dr Polly talked through each dish’s history and encouraged residents to share their associated memories with her and each other.

Getting into the spirit of the initiative, Harrier Lodge also hosted a 1970s disco, where the team served popular foods from the time, including coronation chicken vol au vents, cheese and pineapple, cocktail sausages. Residents also enjoyed a glass of bubbly and the 1970s playlist got everyone’s feet tapping.

Dr Polly said: “I was delighted to partner with Care UK to create a reminiscence tasting menu, and I had a fantastic time chatting to residents about some of their favourite foods throughout the ages.

“There really is something incredibly special about the way food can evoke memories and emotions, and it was wonderful to see how everyone’s faces light up when they tried each dish. Just one flavour or smell can prompt a different memory and emotion for each individual, which is why a session like this can be so powerful.

Diane Collins, Home Manager at Harrier Lodge, added: “While many families who have trusted us to care for their loved ones are currently making do with home cooking or a take-away pizza, their relatives are still enjoying a bespoke, fine dining experience cooked to a restaurant standard.

“Here at Harrier Lodge, we take pride in providing activity-based care that has proven to be beneficial for older people. Reminiscence and the senses go hand in hand, which is why we were thrilled to have the opportunity to bring these together.

“We had a wonderful time listening to Polly and trying each dish as it was served. It certainly provided some ‘food for thought’ and it was brilliant to see how people’s faces lit up as they reminisced and shared their own memories throughout the session.”

Harrier Lodge is a purpose-built care home which has been designed to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives, while also promoting independence. The home provides full-time residential, nursing and specialist dementia care for up to 65 older people in Whitstable, and incorporates space for hobby and leisure activities, including its own cinema, hairdressing salon and café.

For more information about Harrier Lodge, please call Customer Relations Manager, Theresa Mead, on 0203 918 2873, or email theresa.mead@careuk.com 

To find out more about Care UK’s partnership with Dr Polly Russell, and for more top tips on how you and your loved ones can get involved at home, visit careuk.com/food-for-thought

Open to new residents

Thanet Way, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 3FS (

Harrier Lodge

Harrier Lodge

CQC Rating: Good
  • Residential care
  • Dementia care
  • Nursing care
  • Nursing dementia care
  • Respite care
  • End of life care
  • Day club

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