Food is one of the last remaining pleasures in life when you get old. Though appetite naturally reduces as you reach old age, there’s no doubt life for residents in my care home (and all others for that matter) revolves around mealtimes.
I’ve seen care homes where there’s an attitude of ‘eat it or leave it’. I think that’s terrible. It would never happen at Broomgrove. We want mealtimes to be the highlight of the day.
Ensuring we’re putting the right meals on the table is an absolute priority for me, but maybe not always in the way you might think.
There are a few differing schools of thought when it comes to deciding what kinds of meals a resident should be given.
Though I agree food should be healthy, I would argue - for a resident in the final years of their life - there are pleasures relating to mealtimes that will never be given by nutrition alone.
I’m thinking about the kinds of home cooked meals that take residents back to the best times of their lives; the tastes, smells, colour and presentation that conjure up wonderful associations.
Many of these might be from a world of totally alien to us - recipes spawned by the rationing of the 1940s and 1950s for example.
But going that extra mile to give a resident what they want can be the highlight of their week - and that’s what we’re all about.
A fish and chip supper might not always be good for you in the pure nutritional sense but, because of its associations, could be the most ‘healthy’ thing a resident could ever wish for as it brings back joyous memories of family holidays on the coast.
One of the first people a new resident at Broomgrove will meet is our resident chef, Anita.
She makes it her mission to sit down with them and find out exactly what they like and don’t like. She makes a point of asking them: “If there’s one meal you’d like to have again, then what would it be?”
Anita will then do her best to make it for them.
We’re happy to serve wine and have regular treats in the shape of homemade cakes.
Old age may mean the loss of the many things but enjoyment of good food should never be one of them.