Creating a positive impact on the wellbeing of every resident in care.
Unilever Food Solutions recently held a knowledge-sharing day looking at the impact good planning around meals can have on people’s health and wellbeing. Here, we look at what happened on the day and the learning points that emerged.
Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) has hosted leaders and respected figures from the care industry at its This is Home: Resident Wellbeing in Action event; a special day-long celebration, highlighting and debating the issues most important to the adult social care sector.
Special guest speaker, Josh Eggleton, Michelin-starred chef and mastermind behind hit Channel 4 show, The Restaurant that Makes Mistakes, topped the bill, alongside representatives from respected industry organisations including National Activity Providers Association (NAPA), Re-Engage (formally Contact the Elderly) and Our Yesterday.
Josh Eggleton kicked-off the event in style with a talk on nostalgia and the benefits of linking food to happy memories. He also gave delegates a wonderful insight into what he learned about dementia whilst filming The Restaurant that Makes Mistakes. Josh commented, ‘Showing how food can be really interactive and re-kindle memories to help residents live life how they used to is so important.’
Executive Director at NAPA, Hilary Woodhead, believes that combining food and mealtimes with engaging activities can have a hugely positive impact – particularly for dementia sufferers, whose eating and drinking behaviours can significantly affect their condition.
The importance of running engaging activities in care settings was also seconded by speakers from Our Yesterday, providers of a digital database of easy-to-download activities. As a demonstration of the content available to care homes via Our Yesterday, the day also included singing, quiz activities and a Frank Sinatra-themed lunch that was greatly enjoyed by a number of specially-invited residents attending on the day.
Loneliness can often be a difficult subject to tackle, but, working with industry-leading partners, it’s a topic that UFS are determined to approach head-on.
Unilever Food Solutions’ Tea Company Lead, Celia Benham, noted how leading tea brand, PG Tips have long encouraged social interaction over a ‘tasty cuppa’. This is evidenced by their ‘Hydration Station’ initiative: tea stations where residents can make their own drink in order to build confidence, maintain hydration levels and, most importantly, get talking.
Re-Engage ambassador, Duncan Parker also tackled the subject of loneliness, detailing the work the organisation does in the wider community. Re-Engage works to bring groups together on a regular basis to share in stories and conversation; which is especially important given that those who experience loneliness have a 64% greater chance of developing clinical dementia, heart disease and depression.
Making changes, improving care
“It was great to understand the work that Unilever Food Solutions are doing with Re-Engage and the Hydration Stations, it really helped me understand how we can have more of a partnership that goes beyond just food.” – Jane Diplock, Wellbeing & Dementia Service Manager, Runwood Homes
Food throughout the course of the day was managed and facilitated by Unilever Food Solutions’ dedicated Culinary Team and served with the help of Josh Eggleton – who couldn’t help but roll up his sleeves and get stuck in! The team also ran an afternoon session on ‘micro-snacking’, with dish demonstrations including soup ‘shots’, breaded cheese bites, Turkish delight and deliciously-gooey chocolate brownies. Importantly, all dishes were nutritionally optimised and contained the essential calories that those living in care often need.
“The detail that has gone into the food is incredible. The ideas shared here today can then flow through to the care homes and really benefit the residents.” – Josh Eggleton
This Is Home is all about sharing ideas and experiences from which the sector can learn, improve and grow for the greater good. This sentiment was felt by attendees, with Grant Pullen, Hospitality Specialist from HC-One, commenting, ‘The more forums like this, the better. The more sharing we can do the better it is for the residents – and ultimately that’s who we are here for.’
UFS is passionate about working with care homes and groups all across the UK and is proud of how its first This is Home event helped shine a light on some of the issues most important to this exciting and dynamic industry. If you’re interested in finding out more about the work UFS does in the sector, please get in touch with Erika Burany at Erika.Burany@unilever.com.