We believe that our residents should be supported to eat and drink what they enjoy, but we also need to be mindful of their health.

We offer balanced meals within all of our homes, but as one of our main aims as a company is to support and encourage the independence of our residents, we wanted them to understand their own choices.

We held nutrition training with our residents at The Beeches which aimed to get them thinking about what they enjoy eating, to consider whether they would try new things, and use food and drink as a reminiscence tool as taste has a significant link to memory.

We chose to pilot the training at The Beeches as we want our courses to be accessible to every single one of our residents, and The Beeches has residents living with Dementia. This was something we wanted to ensure was taken into account, and the course was brilliantly delivered by our training coordinator Samera.

Stage One: What are your favourite foods?

Our residents were very vocal about their favourite foods, with Keith enthusiastically stating that a fry-up was his ultimate meal. However, when we took him through the NHS recommended portion sizes for different food groups, he came to the conclusion that maybe he should cut down on the fried foods and balance his diet more effectively.

Stage Two: Have your taste buds changed over time?

This was the reminiscence part of the training session, and we were struck by how effective it was. With our residents discussing the ‘good old days’ where they would sit in front of their parents fireplace and eat bread coated in dripping, with some saying they remembered being in the countryside and occasionally poaching rabbits from a local field.

We were most surprised when Norma burst into a 1940’s song about the British staple- the cup of tea. Not only that, but when we showed her photographs of foods rarely seen by the younger generation, she explained not only the title of a dish from her childhood but it’s history.

Norma told us the history of the Lord Woolton Pie, a dish named after a British general responsible for the rationing of the British people during The Great War. You can click here to read more about it.

Stage Three: Is there anything you would like to change about the food in your home?

Based on their feedback the taste testers club is going to feature foods from the presentation such as different cheeses, meats and vegetables for them to try. We’ve also made an addition to the menu at The Beeches based on their feedback – because of the residents overwhelming response to the memory activities we are going to start serving kippers in the kitchen. This is one of the dishes our residents remembered from their childhood.

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