Eating, drinking and mealtimes, in general, should be a really positive part of everyone’s day, but for many people who need care and support the enjoyment can easily be lost if food preparation or consuming food or drinks is a struggle, or personal preferences aren’t supported. This has been highlighted since 2012 by the annual Nutrition and Hydration Week, which aims to:
“Highlight and educate people on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and wellbeing in health and social care.”
At ENA, our live-in carers know how important good nutrition and hydration is for all of our clients. Our personalised support offers everything from a helping hand in the kitchen to full meal preparation, and if you need support to eat and drink – perhaps due to dysphagia or another health condition – our live-in carers can provide this. We want everyone we support to enjoy the whole experience of eating and drinking, and we pride ourselves on helping to make that happen for our clients.
Full choice and control over meals
A key ingredient in the enjoyment of eating and drinking is having choice and control over what and when you eat and drink. Living in a communal establishment – like a residential home or a care home – can mean you have limited menu choices and set mealtimes, but with our live-in care what you eat and when you eat is entirely your choice.
Our live-in carers can help you to shop for your groceries, either in-person or online, look for recipes if you want to relive a favourite meal from the past, and provide that crucial social element that comes from preparing and eating food together. You may want to have three square meals a day, or prefer to take a grazing approach, eating little and often. Just let us know and we will tailor our support to meet your needs.
If you want to broaden your culinary horizons, our live-in carers can do that too, as one of our spinal injury clients, Stephen Morton, commented on in our Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day blog.
“You will have a different relationship with every individual carer, embrace the difference and you may discover a new film, musician or food that you love.”
Supporting your independence
Independence in eating and drinking means many different things to different people. For someone who is able to prepare food almost unaided, it may just mean having a companion to help with peeling the potatoes while you enjoy a friendly chat together. For someone else, it may mean that they need a live-in carer who can prepare their meal and support them to eat it, but with the person taking the spoon occasionally to help bring the food to their mouth.
Whatever your situation, our live-in care is bespoke and will fit around you and your needs. We aim to never do more than you want and to maximise your independence as much as possible, whilst guarding against you feeling frustrated because you can’t do something or having an accident. If you are following a rehabilitation programme, perhaps as a result of a stroke or spinal injury, we can support you to build up your culinary skills again in-line with what’s been recommended by your rehab professional.
Helping you with your dietary requirements
It may be that you need to follow a particular diet as advised by a healthcare professional, or that you have a personal preference for certain foods. We can support all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free or halal diets. We can also support you if you have been advised to lose or gain weight, or have a health condition, like diabetes, that requires dietary modifications.
If you experience bouts of constipation or diarrhoea we can support you to change your diet as recommended by your healthcare professional. If you have swallowing difficulties, our live-in carers are fully trained to follow the guidance provided by Speech and Language Therapists or other professionals to ensure everything you eat or drink is safe for you. And if you need to take medication that is linked to your mealtimes, our live-in carers can ensure you are supported to do this too.
Making hydration a priority
Many of our clients, especially people who are living with dementia, may need support to remain hydrated, especially in warmer weather. Our live-in carers can make sure your favourite drinks are readily available and you are reminded to drink to avoid dehydration.
We aim to learn how you like your drinks, whether it’s strong coffee, builder’s tea, milky hot chocolate or ice-cold water, and support you to make drinks like fresh fruit smoothies too if they are liked. By knowing these crucial details, we hope to make drinking a pleasurable experience for you. We are also supportive of innovative hydration ideas like Jelly Drops, for people who struggle to drink enough liquids.
Find out more about how ENA Care Group could support you or your family by calling 0800 4334 413 or emailing .