If you run a lunch club you’ll know how beneficial they can be, helping to reduce social isolation and providing a regular social activity for an older person to look forward to. A lunch club is a great reason for someone to get out of the house and enjoy a home-made, nutritious meal without having to cook or wash up for themselves.
But have you ever thought about a supper club?
By hosting a supper club, you may provide a key piece in the jigsaw of services that support older people living in their own homes to eat well. For some, the meal that they get at a supper club may be the only home-cooked meal they have all week.
Something to consider when planning your menu is whether or not it is inclusive? Perhaps someone who is vegan or vegetarian would like to attend, but they don't feel that they'll be catered for. They shouldn’t have to miss out on the social aspect of a supper club because they follow a different diet. Providing a good selection of vegan or vegetarian options will also make your supper club more accessible for those following a special diet for religious reasons, or those with food allergies.
Kilmarnock Dementia Resource Centre aims to support people with dementia, their families, relatives and friends at any stage of the condition. Following a presentation on VfL services, publications and resources, Claire (our Roving Chef for Scotland) delivered a vegetarian supper club there.
Sheena Boyd, Dementia Advisor, said: “The supper club was started in April to provide people under 65, living with dementia, with a peer support group. Many people can live well with dementia and we wanted to create a group for this age bracket. Each month we hold a dining experience and follow this with some type of event whether that be music, quizzes or presentations.”
Sheena continued: “The group were interested to learn more about vegetarian cookery, so our supper club was the perfect way to further showcase VfL. Social interaction is a huge benefit for people living with dementia and their carers. In addition, our resource centre hosts a variety of activities on a daily basis as the main focus for Alzheimer Scotland is to ensure nobody faces dementia alone.”
Chef Claire gave the group an overview of veg*n cooking, explaining the difference between vegans and vegetarians, along with hints and tips for checking ingredient labels and how to safely chop and prepare vegetables.
Claire said: “I wanted to keep the menu simple and include family favourites, highlighting that the classics can be made vegan or vegetarian with some simple swaps... in the bolognese we used Quorn mince as an alternative to beef mince. This recipe is also packed full of colourful veg, making it easy to get your five a day.”
Some of the group had never tried Quorn, with one member saying: “Trying a fully vegetarian menu was new to me, it's really inspired me to buy Quorn and make the soup too.”
The event was also attended by carers who said:
“My mum’s appetite has changed a lot and she no longer enjoys meat, so this was a lovely change for her.”
“It was great that the meal was vegetarian as my wife doesn't eat meat.”
Other members added:
“I've never had Quorn before and really enjoyed it.”
“I was surprised at how good it was.”
“It was great to experiment with something different.”
The supper club is also a great way to meet others and socialise. Members said:
“We really enjoyed interacting with others and the food was delicious.”
“Fantastic night with great interaction.”
“Claire was very informative and interesting.”
The menu was well received by the group, too!
“Fantastic meal and great atmosphere.”
“Lovely meal, we really enjoyed it.”
Sheena concluded: “Thank you for everything – the attendees loved your supper club. It was perfect and the whole set up was enjoyed by all. Thanks so much for making the session fabulous!"
If you would like more information on hosting a veg*n lunch or supper club or would like one of our Roving Chef team to attend one of your events, please contact us at email@example.com
For further information on the services provided by Alzscot Kilmarnock please contact Sheena at SBoyd@alzscot.org. Other Alzscot Resource Centres can be found at https://www.alzscot.org/ and https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/ for other areas in the UK.