To celebrate Nutrition & Hydration Week, which runs from 14 to 20 June, Royal Star & Garter looks at some of the well-being benefits food and drink can bring to residents, and a very special gooseberry pie!
The charity, which cares for veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, has three Homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. Kitchen staff there do their best to keep the residents happy, and chefs hold regular meetings with residents, where they receive feedback and requests.
In Surbiton, chef Rida Diab rolled back the years for one resident when he made a gooseberry pie using her mother’s recipe. After serving a fruit pie, Army wife Wyn told Rida the pastry was not as good as hers, and gave him the recipe that her mother always used.
The chef went away and came back with a gooseberry pie, which Wyn said was “delicious”. She added:
“My mum died in 1966 and it reminded me of her.”
Rida often takes special requests from residents and said:
“It’s a lot more work but I feel happy when I see them enjoying the food. They deserve to be treated like this because of what they have done for their country. We offer them everything that we can. Residents can always come to me.”
Mealtimes are a central part of life within the Homes, where residents get together and sit with staff. A recent survey among the veterans found 97% really valued the friendly, sociable atmosphere at mealtimes, while 95% said the food matched their choices, enabling independence at mealtimes, which is an important part of person-centred care.
Cookery is also one of the most popular activities, with residents often found armed with a rolling pin, making cakes and other delicious foods.
Food can also be used to appeal to the senses. In High Wycombe, the smell of freshly baked bread is used to whet the appetite and encourage residents living with dementia to eat. And the Surbiton Home has a new hydration station with delicious juices rich with vitamin C.
Dietician Zoey Barlow, who works at the Surbiton Home, said:
“As we get older our nutrition and hydration needs change and it can be more difficult to keep ourselves well nourished. Poor nutrition and hydration increase the risk of disease, delay recovery from illness, and can adversely affect physical and psychological well-being. Royal Star & Garter provides residents with freshly prepared, balanced meals and regularly consults with residents to ensure that the food provided is delicious and meets their needs. Residents’ nutritional status is regularly monitored, and the care staff, with support from the Speech and Language Therapist and Dietitian, are experienced in supporting them to meet their nutritional requirements.”