A residential care facility in Victoria has teamed up with the CSIRO and a local meat company to finesse a sausage it has created that people who struggle to swallow can eat.
Lyndoch Living in Warrnambool has a high care dementia ward puts on a weekly barbecue for its residents, but until recently many of them missed out because they could not eat the food.
In an interview with the ABC, Lyndoch Living hotel services manager Simon Corbett said the ability of food to evoke memories makes it an important tool in dementia management.
“Everyone remembers food that their grandparents cooked or family meals that are really important,” he said.
“They eat something and they go bang — I remember when my mother did this or my grandmother did that.”
Mr Corbett created the sausage himself but has found it difficult to find a binding agent soft enough for residents to eat, but firm enough to hold the sausage shape.
Mr Corbett said residents were more likely to eat something that looked like food, and he initially started with a sausage because of its simple shape.
“Most people offer a vitamised service to someone, but people with dementia don’t recognise that as food,” he said.
Up until now they have been using egg whites, but they are hoping to find a better stabiliser that doesn’t impact on the protein elements.
They also hope to incorporate other nutritional properties and additional protein to boost dietary intake.
“Protein’s a really important part of the diet in aged care,” he said.
“That’s where we’re really hoping the CSIRO will come into play with it.”
The team is intending on making the sausage more widely available in due course.
Source: ABC Online