Dementia Dining: Training at Ashberry Care Homes

Understanding Dementia Dining: A Journey with Training2Care at Ashberry Homes

D.I.E.T ExperienceRecently, the Training2Care Dementia D.I.E.T (Dining immersive experimental training) visited Moorhouse. Employees at Ashberry came together to take part in the immersive experience, giving them a deeper insight into the dining experience with dementia. “The D.I.E.T dementia training was well attended by employees from all departments- management, marketing, care team, cooks- everyone got involved,” said Amy Clay, Day Care manager at Ashberry.

Through its Dementia Education Programme, Training2Care has conducted several virtual dementia tours within our Ashberry Homes, providing an immersive experience. However, this training primarily focuses on the dining experience. Everyone was eager to immerse themselves to better understand those they care for. “The training offers insights into the challenges experienced by people living with dementia, equipping our teams with the tools to offer a person-centred approach to dining. This is crucial, as individuals living with dementia may find it difficult to communicate their choices and emotions. Through this training our teams gain a physical experience which enables some insight into the experience of those living with dementia,” stated Shaun Lock, Head of Quality and Compliance at Ashberry,” stated Shaun Lock, Head of Quality and Compliance at Ashberry.

Individuals living with dementia often encounter difficulties related to eating and drinking, with their appetite frequently undergoing shifts as the disease advances.

They may:

  • Fail to remember to eat or drink
  • Have difficulty recognising hunger, thirst, or satiety cues
  • Encounter challenges in food or beverage preparation
  • Experience trouble identifying various food items
  • Experience alterations in appetite or taste preferences
  • Find certain food colours, textures, or odours unappealing
  • Struggle to adhere to specific dietary requirements, such as those for diabetes, celiac disease, or religious and cultural diets
  • Encounter issues with handling utensils and self-feeding
  • Experience swallowing difficulties
  • Develop a preference for sweet foods

In a study conducted in 2023, it was found that approximately 26.98 % of older adults with dementia are malnourished and approximately 57.43 % are at risk of malnutrition. (2023) With this training, we can learn about the difficulties individuals with dementia face when it comes to eating and drinking.

In the D.I.E.T training, attendees experienced a detailed simulation, unlike anything they had taken part in before. “It was a truly unique experience, having no control or sense of independence while doing such an everyday task like dining was quite an anxiety-inducing experience” Lyn, Deputy manager at Allt Y Mynydd added.

Alison Daly, the Registered Manager at Moorhouse who participated in the training said: “It made me feel sad, full of empathy for all residents and people that have to live with illness and disability daily. I felt powerless and vulnerable, and unable to help myself. It was powerful to experience even for only 20 minutes how a resident must feel and perceive their daily life.”

Dementia dining immersive training not only demonstrated what it is like to live with dementia but also how it affects the dining experience.

All of us who took part in the training left with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the issues that come with dining with dementia and how we can take steps in providing an environment where mealtimes for people with dementia are effective,” said Amy Clay (Daycare manager).

Before starting the training, attendees were given a selection of items to put on. Movement-restricting gloves which mimics the lack of dexterity in the hands and issues picking up cutlery, headphones playing loud and distracting noises and visually impairing glasses. “It makes you feel vulnerable- my vision, hearing and sense of touch and movement were all distorted- it made me feel so disorientated,” said Dan, Deputy Manager at Moorhouse.

We do this staff training for them to experience firsthand the barriers we unintentionally set up around dining for individuals with dementia—it’s profound. It’s a lesson that’ll stick with staff forever.  By embracing this new knowledge, we’re not just enhancing our own experiences but also reshaping the landscape of dementia care for good. It’s a transformative journey that’ll stick with those involved.” Glenn Knight, CEO of training2care.

Training2Care’s free resource: Dementia dictionary, is an online resource tailored specifically for caregivers, families, and individuals affected by dementia. This tool offers a user-friendly interface to explore an extensive range of dementia-related terms, providing clear definitions and explanations to enhance understanding and support.

Recognising the challenges faced by individuals with dementia during mealtimes, Ashberry is dedicated to fostering a dining environment conducive to their needs. Through insights gained from the immersive training, caregivers at Ashberry aim to provide enhanced support and empathy to individuals with dementia.“I do not doubt once we have cascaded this training through our team that the care and compassion with which they already work with, will take on yet another layer, and dimension of understanding through this training and experience,” said Alison Daly, Moorhouse Manager.

By prioritising the well-being and comfort of individuals with dementia, Ashberry endeavours to transform the dining experience into a positive and enriching aspect of their daily lives.

To find out more about the dementia care we provide here at Ashberry, follow this link.

If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia or another cognitive condition, our fully trained and experienced team can offer them the level of care and support they need. Contact our team today for more information or visit one of our homes.

Published On: 26 April 2024 | By |