VfL in the news: Public Sector Catering, 1 February 2023
Care home caterers across the UK will celebrate Dignity Action Day (1 February 2023), which is an annual opportunity for health and social care workers as well as members of the public to uphold people’s rights to dignity.
Moussa Haddad, head of research and policy at Vegetarian for Life, said: “Among the many competing demands and pressures we face, sometimes our actions can fall a little short of our intentions. Dignity Action Day on 1st February gives us all a chance to refocus, and to think about how we can work together to ensure that the right to dignity of all people in care is upheld.”
Launched in 2019, the Memory Care Pledge contains five key measures to ensure that vegetarian and vegan residents can continue living the rest of their lives the way they intended.
It is a promise that their beliefs and values will be upheld and respected even if and when they experience cognitive losses or capacity issues. Over 350 care homes across the UK have so far chosen to make the pledge.
Amanda Woodvine, chief executive of Vegetarian for Life, added: “Establishments should consider how inclusive their catering is for celebrations – for example, providing a vegan birthday cake – and respecting how people want to eat as well as what they eat, for example on a meat-free table if possible.”
The number of older vegetarians and particularly vegans is continuing to grow. Vegetarian for Life research found that in the five years to 2019, care residents following a vegan diet increased by a remarkable 167%.
Chris Bonner, executive chef and nutrition & hydration lead at care provider HC-One, commented: “I think that the ethos behind the Memory Care Pledge is brilliant. We have a variety of diverse residents living in our care homes, coming from very different backgrounds and I need to find what works for everybody.
“We’re spreading the message to our colleagues that veganism is becoming a part of life, and a lot of people are taking it on as a way of life. We’re there to provide a service, not just stay in our own comfort zones. Good food keeps residents healthy, and giving people food they want to eat prevents weight loss and all the problems that come with that.
“If we’re to cater to our residents’ preferences and dietary requirements, and to make ourselves attractive to this growing segment of the market, we’re going to have to inform and educate ourselves, and the Memory Care Pledge and the support from Vegetarian for Life are going to continue to play a huge role in that.”