People with dementia often require a higher calorie diet to replace excess energy used. They may also have difficulties in swallowing, their sense of smell and taste may diminish resulting in a loss of appetite; they may forget they have already eaten or that they haven’t, or how to eat, or have poor dexterity to manage using regular cutlery.
A nutritionally balanced diet is essential in supporting a person to maintain optimum health. Poor diet not only leads to weight loss (or gain) but it can also affect a person’s ability to heal from illness, to concentrate; it affects skin condition, leads to constipation and incontinence, affects sleeping patterns etc.
Our catering and clinical teams incorporate a range of approaches to ensure food is flavoursome, appropriate for the individual to manage, and is presented in an appetising way.
We serve finger foods and other snacks in between meals to promote independence and increase calorie intake. Fortified milk shakes and smoothies are served, to support good nutritional balance and stimulate appetite, as is fortifying main meals – again to increase calorie and nutritious values without affecting appetite.
We aim to provide the most appropriate environment for each person, whether it is enjoying a social occasion in the dining room, a private dining experience with one or two other residents or family members, or individually with the support of a carer.
Dining rooms are decorated to provide the right ambience; we often arrange themed meals and parties and provide specialist cutlery and crockery, where needed, to encourage independence.
We recognise the enormous importance of good nutrition for enhancing the health and overall well being of people with dementia. To promote this we have protected mealtimes, free from unnecessary interruption, in our carefully designed dining room. We hold two sittings at each meal to allow people time to relax, to exercise their choice and give more assistance where needed. Snacks and drinks are provided during the day and night and we celebrate special events throughout the year with themed dinner parties.