Written on 30-Aug-2017
In recent years, the UK population has seen a significant increase in the proportion of elderly people and this increase is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future.
Based on forecast demographic trends over the next 30 years, it is estimated that the need for nursing home places will rise by as much as 65 percent by 2031.
I have experienced various care facilities first hand. Several of my own family members have been residents and have relied heavily on their services and facilities to manage and maintain both their mental and physical well-being. As a result of this, I feel that not only do I have a keen insight into the care sector but also possess a unique understanding of the challenges that some of the residents face.
One major issue I noticed was that many people struggle adjusting to a care environment. They are often faced with losing their independence and this, coupled with the steady deterioration of their health, can result in individuals experiencing low mood and morale.
Meal times can be one of the main things residents look forward to on a daily basis. A hearty breakfast followed by a nutritious healthy lunch and a warming meal in the evening, can provide not only sustenance but a highlight to what can sometimes be a monotonous day.
The food prepared and served to the residents living in care facilities isn’t just a ‘meal’ but instead appears to be an experience. It becomes an opportunity to communicate with other people and sitting around a table with other residents talking about their past, sharing stories of their upbringing, hobbies and interests allows them to express themselves in a neutral, natural environment.
This interaction plays a huge part in maintaining and improving people’s mental health and is an essential part of their day.
After conducting some of my own market research and speaking to a number of care facilities across Lancashire, I was genuinely shocked at some of my findings. A lot of kitchens often find themselves short staffed and in some instances have no trained, professional catering employees whatsoever.
They are then forced to use their own care staff as a substitute. The care staff do an amazing job at ‘caring’ but ultimately aren’t qualified to work in a kitchen. Granted, most of us are capable of putting a tin of soup on the stove or quickly making a sandwich but this is no substitute for an experienced chef in the kitchen.
Skilled, qualified, passionate chefs are needed to ensure that residents are presented with food that is not only carefully considered and nutritionally balanced but will ultimately make them happier.
At CJUK, it is our goal to ensure that every resident living or staying in a care facility is provided with three healthy, home cooked meals using the best quality, locally sourced, fresh produce prepared by a qualified chef each and every day.