Food, Nutrition and Our Menus
Good nutrition is important at any stage of life, and eating a healthy balanced diet when we get older can make the difference between staying healthy and experiencing ill health.
Older people are often at increased risk of the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can cause health problems. This can be due to both dietary deficiencies and problems with absorption, so a good diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, vitamins B1, B2, B12 and magnesium is important.
Ageing and Nutrition
Bone density tends to reduce with age, so it is particularly important that older people in residential care have plenty of calcium. However, a diet high in calcium is not the answer if the body is not absorbing it properly, so vitamin D supplements may also be needed to assist absorption.
A recent study published in Brain, Behaviour and Immunity suggested that a diet high in fat could cause damage to the brain by destroying synapses, which are connections within the brain, causing memory problems and difficulties in cognition. Obesity is also responsible for other health conditions, so it is important that the diet does not contain too much fatty food.
An individual’s diet should be tailored to his or her needs, so whilst an obese resident will need assistance to work towards a healthy body mass, others who are underweight may need additional support to ensure that they are sufficiently nourished. Regular weighing and assessment of the nutritional status of older people, especially those in residential care, is very important.
Food in Care Homes
Balcombe Care Homes plan their menus carefully to provide nutritionally balanced meals with input from residents. Choices are offered so that everyone can select food they like and receive all the nutrients they need to maintain good health. You will find sample menus on the website that demonstrate the level of choice offered at each meal.
Breakfasts usually consist of fruit juice, cereal, fruit, toast or cooked breakfast with coffee or tea. Lunches typically include three courses with a choice of hot dishes, and there is a choice at supper time too. Between meals, hot drinks and snacks are served, with home baking featuring on many menus.
If a resident has a birthday or other celebration and wishes to arrange a party for family or requests a special menu, every effort is made to fulfil their wishes.
Since good nutrition depends on the resident taking in a sufficient amount of good food, anyone who needs assistance with eating or drinking will be helped by members of staff. Eating is also a social occasion, and many people enjoy eating with others in the dining room, but residents who prefer to eat in the privacy of their own rooms will naturally be accommodated.