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Tempting meals for people living with dementia who may have difficulty swallowing their food

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Chef Andy Gray is rightly proud of the dishes he brings out of his kitchen at a Suffolk care home. Aromatic salmon, tasty sausages and peas, flavoursome pork fillets and mash. They are all freshly prepared but there has been one important extra stage in the cooking process. The ingredients have been blended down using a mixer and then re-formed using special moulds. The result: tempting meals for people living with dementia who may have difficulty swallowing their food. Mr. Gray, 32, has been chef at Spring Lodge in Woolverstone, near Ipswich for 12 years and says the moulds have made a huge difference to residents’ enjoyment of food. He said: “We currently have two residents who have difficulty swallowing but in the past we have had as many as 12.  

“Previously we used ring moulds for pureed food, but that could look boring and unappetising. “Thanks to my new moulds, people can eat pureed food that looks exactly the same as the meal being eaten by the person next to them. It maintains their dignity and respect. “If they don’t like the look of the food then the residents may not touch it, so that is why it is so important.” Mr Gray, who lives in nearby Shotley, said it gave him “an immense amount of pride to see residents enjoying their meals” at the Kingsley Healthcare run home. He is still perfecting the new technique but said he had discovered that coating the moulds in coconut oil meant food came out of them in exactly the right shape.  

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