Catering for dementia: a quick guide
It’s world Alzheimer’s Month this September, with this international event aiming to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around dementia. To show our support for this brilliant campaign, I’ve pooled together some of our team’s and customers’ knowledge to create this quick blog guide to catering for dementia in the healthcare sector. Our amazing healthcare customers support people living with dementia on a daily basis, serving them nourishing meals that are tailored to their needs.
Stimulate the senses
Food is not all about taste. I had the pleasure of chatting Rob Byrom from Hallmark Care Homes on the podcast this week, where we talk about the role of aromas, sights and sounds to signal that it’s time to eat. I join Rob in being partial to the smell of bacon being cooked myself, but not all residents living with dementia will have retained their sense of smell. That’s why it’s important to play to all of the senses depending on the resident’s needs. The familiar sights and sounds of the table being laid or dinner being cooked can all signal that it’s time to eat – so make mealtimes as visible and interactive as possible.
Focus on food that people want to eat
Finger foods are a great option help residents maintain their independence, dignity, and satisfy hunger there and then. I had the pleasure of working with Wayne Wright in our culinary team to develop some new finger food recipes for our Catering for Dementia guide. He takes the humble scotch egg to a new level, gives breakfast pancakes a make-over and wows with moreish vegan cupcakes. And for me that’s the key, it’s about creating food that doesn’t compromise, is visually pleasing and that people simply want to eat. You can find Wayne’s full range of recipes here.
Make a splash with colour
I loved Rob’s idea of ‘showplates’ to help residents see how their meal would look and tempt them into eating. Bold and coloured plates or plates with a border can also be used to help residents living with dementia identify the space on the table. Keeping the table layout really simple and uncluttered can also help residents decipher the food. You can find our range of Catering Supplies for dementia here.
For more hints and tips take a look at Caterers Campus, our new and exclusive e-learning platform for the care sector that features an in-depth online workshop aimed to build knowledge and skills.
The six values to focus on
A final thought to end on, in my conversation with Rob Byrom, he discussed essential values that need to be in place when catering for someone living with dementia: security, belonging, continuity, purpose, achievement and significance. Here at Bidfood we believe food plays such a crucial role in our experience and enjoyment of life, it’s vital that we continue to support people living with dementia to experience joyful mealtimes.
You can find our new Catering for Dementia Guide here.
Find out more about how we support our care sector customers here.