Accredited practising dietician, member of the Dieticians Association of Australia, and Manager of Nutrition and Culinary Systems at Sodexo, Ros Leonard says the dignicare program has a special focus on the changes in appetite and eating behaviour of elderly people with dementia – it aims to optimise quality of life by creating a dignified dining experience and fostering independence for those affected by dementia.
“Its approach places emphasis on improving nutrition, but also takes into consideration personal preferences to food as well as environmental and sensory factors that aid in the quality of the meal time,” Ms Leonard says.
With recent Alzheimer’s Australia research showing a sharp rise in the number of people likely to be diagnosed with dementia, Sodexo is striving to create senior living environments that can support people living with dementia, as well as other seniors, to live the most independent and fulfilling life possible, for as long as possible.
“For us, this includes facilitating social interactions among those with dementia such as seating residents with similar cognitive function levels together, using specialised table settings, ensuring staff members are trained to positively manage interactions with the residents, and creating an overall dignified dining experience that makes residents feel comfortable,” Ms Leonard says.
Drawing on its many years of experience within the senior living and healthcare sectors worldwide, Sodexo works in cooperation with clients to create a unique dining profile of each resident, which is then input into its sophisticated food management system. Therefore, they are able to offer meals that match resident’s personal preferences and limitations taking a customised approach to ensure people living with dementia have the right level of care.
Sodexo provides quality of life services to hundreds of thousands of aged care residents across the globe every day, supporting their specific aged care environment needs by providing healthy, customised and well balanced meals, creating a caring culture, and consistently delivering safe and excellent service via rigorous training and internal systems. dignicare is a premium offer that can be integrated as part of a wider scope of integrated Senior Living services including catering, cleaning, facilities and asset management, and maintenance services. When implemented into individual care programs, there are noticeable improvements seen in residents.
“There is a real social and nurturing aspect associated with food; working with leading experts, we apply proven methods to improve the quality of the dining experience to help residents feel comfortable and at ease,” says Clay Santos, Business Development Director of Healthcare at Sodexo.
“What we provide is a holistic approach to the dining experience of residents – we don’t think of dignicare as simply a ‘food service’ offering, it is a tangible way to enhance quality of life through notions of autonomy, choice and control and in particular, dignity.
“While we can as yet do little to affect the course of dementia, health care professionals and providers are well-placed to intervene to positively affect quality of life and quality of care for people with dementia.”