Commenting in the Media on Food in Aged Care
I try my very best to be supportive and positive about the aged care industry and I do work with some fabulous people who are doing their best to have the food they provide do their residents good in body and soul. I am always open to sharing good things being done.
But sadly, too often I see situations that are well below good. Food that the staff offering would not eat themselves, presented in ways these wonderful people would never have considered appropriate when they were living at home. Yet an aged care 'home' is just that - it is that resident's home and providing care and support that, in every possible way, helps make living there feel like 'home' should ALWAYS be paramount.
Don't get me started on the word "facility"! I may one day enter an aged care home but I am never going to submit myself to live in a 'facility' - sounds like something from a horror movie to me.
But, I digress:
This article (which also appears on my media page) was published when I expressed my frustrations at the lack of true care being provided by some homes when it came to food being provided and to the completely inadequate emphasis placed on the vital importance of food in making and aged care home, be a home when it comes to funding for aged care and support services for residents.
A dietitian with experience in aged care can provide so very much more to the care home and to the resident than merely reacting to an issue like weight loss - an indicator that a resident is already malnourished, or well on the way there. A dietitian can help guide food selection, offer ways to incorporate age-appropriate eating into almost every part of life in the home, just the way life is 'on the outside', when these people lived in their own homes. Food gardens, leisure and lifestyle activities, dining design and planning, cafes, special activities, parties and social events all involve food. Its not like foot care or even swallowing problems - those need a practitioner's response when an issue occurs. The right food for elderly people helps prevent problems and maintain physical and cognitive health.