Care home nutrition at Willow Grange

Elderly Lady Cooking 200x300When it comes to wellbeing, we are all aware of the importance of a healthy diet. So what is the specific role of food in a care home and why is good nutrition important for the elderly?


The importance of nutrition in elderly care and what nutrients are needed? 

Our residents have differing needs but there are certain nutrients that are universally beneficial in maintaining optimum health. 

Here are some useful care home nutrition guidelines to include in meals:

  • Calcium & vitamin D: Calcium helps to maintain good bone health, which is important at any age but especially when someone might have osteoporosis. Calcium-rich foods include green leafy vegetables, fortified cereals, certain types of fish with soft bones and dairy products. 

Vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium and can be found in oily fish, red meat and eggs.

  • Healthy fats: Not all fats are bad and we all require an amount of healthy fat in our diets. Unsaturated fats are considered to be the ‘good fats’ – these include olive oil and olives, seeds, nuts, avocados and oily fish.
  • Fibre: Dietary fibre can help lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes and also heart disease as it is useful for managing blood sugar and cholesterol. Fibre is also helpful in maintaining good gastric health. Most fruit and vegetables are packed with dietary fibre. Whole-grain bread and cereals, as well as lentils, beans and peas also contain a good amount of fibre.
  • Vitamin B12: B12 is important for creating red blood cells and maintaining healthy nerve function. Unfortunately older people can’t absorb it from food as well as younger people. Vitamin B12-rich foods include lean meat, fortified cereals, seafood and fish.

The importance of good nutrition and hydration 

Nutritious food can help to prevent disease or minimise the symptoms of a chronic illness or health issue. Balanced meals also play an important role in supporting residents who are recovering from illness or surgery. 

Healthy food helps to prevent obesity as well as manage chronic conditions, such as osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Tailoring meals can help with controlling health issues, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

As well as the importance of nutrition in elderly care, it is also vital to ensure that our residents are well hydrated. An essential need for care home residents is ensuring that they drink enough fluids throughout the day. Dehydration can be a significant problem in older people. As we age, this affects how our bodies manage water and it can also reduce the thirst reflex.

Drinking enough water, and other hydrating beverages, is crucial. We need to be hydrated in order to regulate body temperature, keep joints supple, prevent infection and keep organs – especially kidneys – functioning properly. Hydration also keeps electrolytes stable, ensures blood volume is normal and aids in digestion. If an elderly loved one is dehydrated, they may experience mental confusion or low mood. 

As some of our residents have trouble drinking enough fluids, we incorporate healthy and water-rich foods into meals. Fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, strawberries and tomatoes have a high water content. In colder months we serve soups and stews that are tasty and comforting.


Why is good food hygiene important in the care home?

Food poisoning is very unpleasant for anyone, but it can be especially serious for those living in a care home environment. Residents may be frail or have underlying health conditions which mean that they are more susceptible to the risks of food poisoning. 

It is essential to store, prepare and serve food in a completely safe and hygienic setting. We take great care to ensure the highest level of hygiene at Willow Grange. For example, we take every precaution to prevent harmful bacteria that can be present in certain raw meats from spreading and we use fresh high-quality products.

We also acknowledge how vital it is to avoid cross-contamination and our catering team is vigilant if a resident has allergies or food intolerances.


The importance of nutrition in elderly care at Willow Grange 

Here at Willow Grange, our catering team is passionate about ensuring that residents enjoy good home-cooked meals that are as healthy as they are tasty. As part of our care home menu, our caterers provide an extensive range of meals as well as tasty treats. 

We know the importance of quality ingredients, so we invest in the best produce. All of our food is prepared daily by our talented onsite chef and team.


The social and mental health benefits of good food

Our care centres around creating a home-from-home atmosphere and a nurturing environment for our residents. The meals we serve are a large part of the experience.

In addition to the physical benefits, a balanced and nutritious diet has an important and positive impact on mental wellbeing. This is another reason why it is essential that care home residents are offered a varied diet.

As part of our enrichment, we also invite those residents who enjoy baking or cooking to get involved, should they wish to. Cooking and baking helps to engage both mind and body and many of our residents really relish the chance to get involved and be social. 


Find out more about our care home nutrition

Here at Willow Grange, we understand the importance of nutrition in elderly care. We provide a healthy menu for all of our residents. Our skilled catering team tailor meals to meet a variety of dietary requirements, as well as individual tastes and preferences.  

To find out more about the food we prepare for our residents, or to arrange a visit to our Surbiton care home, please get in touch today on 020 8399 8948.