Menu makes eating fun again
A new appetising and nutritional menu has been introduced at a Lowestoft care home, which targets people who have difficulties when swallowing their food. Staff at Kirkley Manor care home, run by Kingsley Healthcare, came up with the idea of making the pureed food resemble an actual meal – instead of it being blended together and looking unappetising in its presentation. The idea has been introduced to the home by chef Alan Pells, who recently won Chef of the Year in the inaugural Kingsley Care Awards.
"It gives me an immense amount of pride when I see people enjoying their meals" - Alan Pells He has been working closely with home manager Carley Rawlinson in catering for the 66 people at the home – the majority of whom have dementia or a dementia type illness. About 25 people at the home, who have swallowing difficulties, are benefiting from the diet. The home has also seen wastage levels reduced, as the appetising presentation of the food, and the ability to swallow it effectively, has contributed to a positive mindset amongst residents. Mr Pells was keen to emphasise the nutritional value of the meals, which are blended down and placed in moulds to resemble how the food would traditionally look.
Having previously worked for companies including Adnams, he has been working at the Lowestoft care home for about two years. “It gives me an immense amount of pride when I see people enjoying their meals. It really touches my heart,” he said. “The texture of the food is completely soft – it is like eating a smooth pate. “Everything is natural, I just blitz it down to a pulp to get the smooth consistency, and then use the moulds to get the shapes we want. “If they don’t like the look of the food, then the residents are not going to touchit,sothatiswhyitisso important.” Residents at the home are given at least two food options each day to choose from, but can also order outside of the menu if they desire something else.
Ms Rawlinson added: “It is dangerous for people with swallowing difficulties to have anything with lumps or crumbs in, so everything has to be pureed down into a paste. “The food is individually portioned to look exactly the same as the person sitting next to them, so it maintains their dignity and respect. “It doesn’t shout out: ‘I have got swallowing difficulties,’ and we are trying to make everyone as inclusive as we can.”
Resident Patricia Manton who is benefiting from the menu, said the food was “lovely and tasty” when she gave it a try.