Care Industry Looking Towards New Nutrition Initiatives
Providing care for residents in nursing homes doesn’t just stop at the specialist medical care that they receive. Care homes also need to look at the complete lifestyle of a resident and in particular their nutritional requirements. The elderly can suffer greatly from weight loss and dehydration, which can worsen some existing conditions. This issue is causing many care homes to focus more on ensuring that all residents have a healthy and balanced diet.
Weight loss can be a problem generally for older people, whether they are still living at home or are residing within a care home. A reduced appetite can quickly turn into a habit, and people who are not getting the correct nutritional requirements on a regular basis can suffer from illnesses, and it will lengthen any recovery periods.
Dehydration in itself can cause serious complications and is linked with a greater risk of death amongst those admitted to hospital in this condition. Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine found that amongst hospital admissions, those who came from a care home were five times more likely than those who came from home to be dehydrated.
Role of Care Homes
Care home providers have an important role to play in maintaining the nutritional well-being of their residents. It’s vital that they provide residents with a choice of snacks and drinks throughout the day. Some conditions, such as dementia, can reduce a persons appetite and their desire to drink. This means that they need more supervision and greater encouragement when it comes to maintaining their intake of food and fluids. It might be that they need to be on a particular diet in order to ensure they’re getting the correct nutritional levels.
Some care homes are now coming up with new approaches to ensure that everyone living in their homes is well fed. This could involve offering a choice of high-calorie items, along with soft drinks, for residents to select from themselves whenever they are hungry or thirsty. This can be more beneficial than having to request items when they want them.
The more that care-home residents can stay in control of their lives, the happier and healthier they will be. It’s important in later life to keep as much of your independence as possible, as this can prevent various conditions, including dementia, from worsening as quickly. The requirement to make choices on a daily basis keeps their brain active and helps them to maintain a sense of normality. When care homes allow residents to choose freely from a range of snacks, they can help with this independence. It enables them to decide for themselves when they are hungry or thirsty and means they don’t have to rely on care-home staff to get everything that they require.
By implementing these types of nutritional initiatives, care homes will reduce incidences of hunger and dehydration amongst residents. In addition, they will enable them to maintain their independence for as long as possible.