>> Nutrition and Hydration Week (March 16-22) is almost upon us and care homes around the country are lining up exciting activities to celebrate the importance of healthy,food and hydration for elderly residents.

It’s a great reminder for everyone in the care sector, to keep quality food and drink at the top of the agenda, along with the need to create stimulating environments that encourage residents to enjoy their meals.

The perfect tea party

Tea – and sharing a cuppa – is one of life’s simple pleasures, and afternoon tea parties are a simple way for care homes to turn eating and drinking into an enjoyable, sociable activity. So why not host an afternoon tea party during Nutrition and Hydration Week? To help care homes, Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) has created a PG tips themed afternoon tea party activity kit – Monkey’s Biggest Ever Tea Party activity kit. Complete with recipe cards, game sheets, posters, cake stand and Elvis CD, the activity kit makes it easier for care homes – even those with limited resources – to throw a great party.

Paul Wright, UFS business development chef, explains: “Care homes have told us that afternoon tea parties have helped get residents out of their rooms and interacting with others. They’ve also had great feedback from family members, who are pleased to see photos of their relatives enjoying their food and participating in events.”

If you want Monkey’s help with your care home’s afternoon tea party, call 0800 783 3728 to find out how to order your activity kit. Choose option 3 and leave a message stating your name, telephone number and Country Range Group wholesaler. One of
Monkey’s delightful assistants will call you back.

Bringing food to life for elderly residents

Sharon Penn, nutrition and hospitality advisor at Exemplar Health Care, has been working with UFS for six years. She explains how Monkey’s Biggest Ever Afternoon Tea Party activity kit and other added value UFS resources are making a huge difference to Exemplar’s activity programme for residents:

“At Exemplar Health Care we know how vital a diverse activity programme is for promoting good health and nutrition, and keeping residents engaged. Activities help keep life interesting for the people living in our homes. Over the years I’ve developed a great relationship with UFS and they have been really instrumental in helping us plan and execute our activity programme.”

Monkey gives a helping hand

“Monkey’s Biggest Ever Tea Party activity kit is popular at a number of our care homes – one hosted a Mad Hatter’s tea party while another home used the kit to organise a tea dance. The posters are great for helping decorate the rooms and set the scene, and the cake recipes make a great accompaniment for afternoon tea.

Counting the benefits

“Activities like tea parties encourage residents to socialise and interact, which is great. It’s all too easy to become isolated, particularly at bigger care homes. One of our events even prompted a member of staff to change her job – she was a receptionist but she’s now an activity coordinator for one of our homes.

“Afternoon tea parties give residents something different to do and help them stay interested in the food and drink they’re consuming. They also help staff get to know residents better because they are socialising together instead of just being with their carer.”

Quantum Care puts residents’ tastes at the heart of the menu

Quantum Care, which has more than 25 care homes in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Essex, has been working with UFS for five years. Donna Steeden, support services manager, explains how UFS’s activity kits and other added value resources are helping make mealtimes the highlight of residents’ days.

“UFS’s activity kits enable our catering teams to really engage with our residents and help them discuss their food preferences. They also give our catering teams inspiration for new recipes to try out in the care homes, and help promote the importance of good food. Over the years we’ve used a whole range of the UFS activity packs and activity kits, including Monkey’ Biggest Ever Afternoon Tea Party pack.”

Residents rate the recipes

“The UFS activity kits help us involve residents in the decision making process when it comes to the food or drink featured on our menus. They get the opportunity to try the recipes in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, and score them. We then add the most popular ones to our menus.”

Linking food and activities

“The afternoon tea party activity kit is also useful because it gives catering teams an easy format to follow for our events. They can use the posters from the activity kit pack to generate interest, the activity sheets to organise events, and get recipe inspiration.”

“Having a ready-made, successful format really helps the catering teams to link up with our activity care workers and create engaging, fun sessions for the residents. The activity kits also highlight to our activity teams the importance of our catering staff and the difference food makes to residents’ lives.”

Encouraging enjoyment of food

“I’m a big fan of activity kits like the Monkey’s Biggest Ever Tea Party pack. We’ve had excellent feedback on activities we’ve organised using these added value UFS resources. After all, it can only encourage residents to eat if they can combine food with activities that they enjoy taking part in. It’s also great to involve them in event planning and decision-making processes.

“I’ve had fantastic feedback from staff on how much residents enjoyed the activities. This helps get staff excited about the events as well. It’s something different for the residents and they get to experience new flavours and foods.”