Food for thought
We hear a lot about obesity but we very rarely encounter a fat elderly person. From our experience it’s a challenge to get enough calories into older people. Most of those we come across live on microwave dinners, tea and toast or biscuits – meal times are not much fun and many report poor appetite. It’s not that they can’t afford to eat in many cases but rather that physical disability, short care visits, eating alone and lack of opportunity to prepare or shop for good food make it difficult to maintain good nutrition in old age.
We provide a home shopping service and although our staff guide people as far as possible in good choices the reality is that lots of older folks’ shopping is based on convenient rather than healthy choices.
But there’s a cure for poor appetite and a simple way to stimulate interest in eating well – company, the aroma of cooking and the sense of occasion that comes from sharing a meal with other people. The majority of people attending our volunteer run lunch clubs are over 85 and no longer cook for themselves due to frailty or disability. We provide transport for them to attend as they would be unable to use public transport due to their level of frailty or having to make multiple changes.
For many in Luton our lunch clubs will be the only place where they eat a wholesome, well balanced and freshly prepared meal. Members guide the cook with menu choices and it’s usual to see a lot of traditional favourites e.g. healthier recipe shepherds pie, roast dinner, warming stews, summer salads, lots of vegetables and milk or fruit based puddings. At our lunch clubs everything is cooked on the premises and the aromas mean that it’s not uncommon for even poor eaters to ask for seconds!