Food is more than just fuel. It can give comfort and evoke memories, and for care home residents it can be an important part of the settling in phase. Here are a few tips to help new residents adjust to mealtimes…
Cultural cook off When a new resident arrives, try to discover as much as possible about the food they eat at home, from cultural treats to family favourites, and incorporate these recipes into your menus. It can also be a great ice breaker to help residents get to know their new neighbour: you could introduce their favourite meal as a menu option (or just offer small tasters) with a story about what this food means to them.
Comfort over conformity When a new resident arrives, they may not always be in the best frame of mind to jump straight in with sociable dining, due to homesickness, uncertainty or simple shyness. It might be a good idea to give them their own space at mealtimes, at least to start with, until they are familiar with their new surroundings. Make sure that the way they are used to dining at home is communicated from the start – it’ll make it easier for you to meet their needs and help them to adjust.
Getting involved Some residents may have been making their own meals straight before they came to the care home, and adjusting to suddenly having food prepared for them can be strange and even upsetting. Many will miss the hustle and bustle of the kitchen, and the removal of those small, simple routines like making tea or preparing a sandwich can be detrimental for residents already struggling with their new environment.
One way to help with this is to arrange kitchen activities like easy baking or food preparation that help residents to feel like they are a part of meal times. This can be difficult in your already busy kitchen, but a satellite space could provide a solution. A kitchen or kitchenette area away from the main kitchen, these ‘satellite’ areas have proven popular as a way to improve resident’s independence and take the strain off of catering staff in the primary kitchen.
At Steelplan Kitchens, our experts have delivered bespoke solutions for care homes for over 30 years, fitting flexible catering kitchens and satellite spaces in residential homes across the UK. To find out more about how our kitchens could benefit your business, call us on 0844 809 9186.