Elderly residents given “nutrition champs”

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By Cara Sulieman

ELDERLY people in some of Scotland’s care homes are to be given their own healthy eating gurus.

Staff in 50 of the country’s care homes have been trained to overhaul the dining experience for thousands of residents.

Susan Polding
Susan Polding-Clyde

And the group of health professionals are being dubbed “nutrition champions” as they set about redesigning kitchens and dining rooms in care homes.

Some unusual schemes have been brought in to make meal times more enjoyable and nutritious for residents.

Some care homes now place laminated menus and flowers on the tables, making the dinning hall feel more like a restaurant.

And in other homes, meal times have been moved to make sure they don’t clash with other appointments.

Elderly residents have been involved with the changes, and are pleased to have a nicer brighter environment.

One resident at Brookfield Residential Home in Carnoustie said: “It is much more bright and cheery now, we are all very proud of our new dining room.”

The “nutrition champs” went on a course organised by the Care Commission to learn about the importance of the individual.

Nutrition experts from all over Scotland came together to help the champs improve food and mealtime.

They included boffins from NHS Scotland, Glasgow Caledonian University, Queen Margaret University and the Scottish Government.

The Care Commission’s Nurse Consultant, Susan Polding-Clyde, was involved in the training and compared the scheme to Jamie Oliver’s over-hall of school meals

She said: “We have already seen how campaigns by the likes of Jamie Oliver can have a dramatic impact on the eating habits of schoolchildren and adults, so it’s very pleasing to see our own nutrition programme working with older people.

“Simple steps such as presenting food more attractively, offering more of a choice on the menu and being more adaptable must be encouraged.

“For many people in care homes, meal times can be the highlight of the day so it is vitally important that mealtimes are seen as both enjoyable and as a social occasion.

“The Nutrition Champions are now armed with the ideas, knowledge and confidence to make a real change to nutrition practices in their homes.”

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