At Home Instead, Stockport, we have been running training sessions to support the Home Instead campaign called ‘Stay Nourished’.
The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness that malnutrition is a concern, especially as people get older. A recent survey carried out by Home Instead revealed that nutritional needs are the highest concern for someone looking for care for a family member and over 1 million people aged 65+ are at risk of being malnourished. The survey also revealed that one in 5 over 75 years go more than 3 months without eating a meal with someone else suggesting that loneliness may be a contributing factor.
Our sponsored research into healthy nutrition appeared in the Daily Express on 9th August (please see link below)
The results of the research are presented by our trainer, Kate, and this usually leads to a discussion as there are a few myths about eating well and getting older such as
1.Your stomach reduces as you get older
A common misconception about ageing is that your stomach gets smaller, and as a result, you need to eat less. Although appetite and capacity to eat may change, stomach size does not shrink.
2.You need to eat less when you get older
People often wrongly believe that as energy requirements reduce, we need to reduce our food intake. This isn’t the case. Our metabolism may slow down when we age but eating good food is what protects and fuels our bodies, and is key to ageing well.
3.Weight loss is healthy
Throughout life we might believe that losing weight is healthy, but this is not the case when we get older. Instead, dieting and unintentional weight loss should be avoided in later years unless advised by a GP or dietician.
4. You should only eat when you feel like it
The ageing process can affect the usual triggers that tell us if we are hungry or full. A loss of appetite is not normal and could be a symptom of an underlying health problem.
5. You need a low-fat diet
Contrary to popular opinion, a low-fat diet is not always the best approach, especially for older people. Some fats are important as a source of calories and some older people may need to eat more to maintain a healthy weight.
6. Eat more vegetables
Nutrient-rich vegetables are essential in any diet but should be eaten as part of a balanced diet including protein, carbohydrates and fluids. Protein is more important as we age as it protects our muscles, immune system, body organs and brain.
7. You only need to drink water when you’re thirsty
If you feel thirsty, chances are it is your body telling you that you are low on hydration. Dehydration can cause confusion and hampers normal kidney function.
8. Meal supplements are sufficient
Our bodies cannot live off meal supplements and vitamins alone. Some supplements can interact with medication and some just don’t work the way they claim to. Meal supplements also cut out the opportunity to enjoy food with other people, family and friends.
9. You must always eat 3 square meals a day
10. Making sure you eat regularly is essential to remaining healthy and well but eating three satisfying meals a day can be a struggle if your appetite is affected. If three good sized meals are too much of a challenge, by eating five of six smaller meals or well-proportioned snacks.
11. Malnutrition is a symptom of getting older
Malnutrition can affect anyone at any age and is not a normal aspect of the ageing process. Malnutrition can occur in bodies of any size, large or small, but older people are particularly at risk. Don’t dismiss the warning signs of malnutrition as being par for the course.
We are working together with Siobhan from AGE UK and she attends the session to explain a research programme that uses a ‘paperweight armband’; a non-invasive way to measure if someone is malnourished or at risk of becoming malnourished. This is fully explained and there is an option for those attending to become a ‘nutrition champion’. This involves observing people who they might come into contact with, such as clients or even family, friends, and if there are any concerns offering to assess with the armband and then the person can be offered support. Siobhan gives the CAREGivers an armband each and asks them to ask each other these questions and try using the armband. The CAREGivers go away with a pack that contains all the tools needed and if they do assess anyone then this information can be given back to Siobhan to collate the data for research. Most data is anonymous but if there are any concerns and the person agrees to give consent then they can be referred for support and followed up in 12 weeks.
Hazel from Wiltshire Farm Foods also attends the session to provide information about the different meals they offer. Following the training Hazel serves a variety of Wiltshire Farm food meals and the CAREGivers can taste the food. The dishes are very tasty and nutritious and there is a wide variety of flavours. There is a ‘mini meal’ portion that is specially designed for someone who has a small appetite and could be at risk of malnourishment and are high in calories with added protein packed in a small serving. Wiltshire Farm Foods also offer meals in different consistencies such as soft meals and pureed meals that would be suitable for someone who has difficulty swallowing, the CAREGivers are usually reluctant to try this meal but surprised how nice it tastes!
For more information about Home Instead and how we can help you or your loved one live a healthy, happy life at home, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0161 480 0646