As people age, so does there needs too but a good diet and keeping active can help prevent any future health problems.
Eating and drinking is much more than food and fluid. Having a positive experience around food and making it more of social activity, is a key way to encourage people to eat and drink better.
Here are some keys things to consider when encouraging people to eat and drink.
Find out what someone likes to eat, when and how
It really important to ask people these questions:
What they like to eat and drink but ask regularly as this might change
What portion size they prefer
When they like to eat my main meal or smaller meals
What their favourite food and drink choices are
Make sure everyone knows their eating and drinking habits
Communication is important about food and fluid needs
Catering/kitchen staff should know of any special dietary requirements
Get creative with discovering what people want to eat and drink, through ‘show and tell’ sessions or taster sessions.
Make a note of likes and dislikes of foods
If unable to communicate ask for help from speech and language therapist (SALT), a dietitian or occupational therapist
Know what help to offer, so people can be independent
Do they have adapted cutlery, crockery, seating support?
Allow for extra time to eat, heated plates are useful to keep food hot
Allow for time to chew and swallow and give full attention
Make sure condiments and water are within reach
Create a positive ‘dining experience’
Find out what makes the best dining experience for people
Find out who people like sitting beside
Keep noise level low
Help people to focus on eating and drinking if there is too many distractions
Make sure people are comfortable and used the toilet before sitting down to eat
Set the table to suit peoples needs and likes
If someone is helping an individual to eat and drink, sit beside them and take your time.
If people are unable to talk, observe facial expressions and gestures to know when they are ready for more or have had enough.