“Food is central to our identity and I would hope that stays with us throughout life,” says Senior Rabbi as new guide is launched to help care homes cater for a variety of diets.
The guide, produced by charity Vegetarian for Life (VfL), is packed full of recipes and information on how religion or philosophical beliefs can affect food choices, and what is legally required from care caterers.
Amanda Woodvine, Chief Executive of VfL, who worked on Dietary Diversity in the Care Sector, said: “A staggering 70% of care home residents have dementia or severe memory problems. Sadly, all too often VfL hears of people with vegetarian philosophical beliefs, and cognitive losses being served meat while in care”.
With allergies, intolerances, and autoimmune diseases becoming increasingly relevant to the care sector, they are also given extensive coverage in the guide. Most people are over 50 when diagnosed with coeliac disease.
Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi, Masorti Judaism UK, said: “Food is so central to our identity. I know this as a Jew and as a Rabbi and I am aware that is the same for people of different religions.
“Within that I am a passionate vegetarian with vegan leanings, and diabetic, so I am conscious of the importance of what we eat.
“Were I at some point living with dementia and had to move out of the community setting that has supported and protected me and be dependent on the care of a home, I would deeply want all of those aspects of my identity to be respected. Nobody would think of giving me loads of sugar, because medically it would be dangerous.
“But I feel at least as passionate about being Kosher and about being vegetarian. Those things are the rhythm and meaning of my life.
“It’s protected under the Human Rights Act to support people in their diet and choices. But it’s also a part of honouring someone’s dignity and personhood. I would hope that personhood stays with us for however long we live.”
Sophie Murray, deputy chair of the National Association of Care Caterers, has also praised the guide.
Ms Murray, who is also head of nutrition at Sunrise Senior Living, said: “The guide will be a great resource for those catering for those in care who are vegetarian, vegan or require specific dietary requirements.”
Click here to download a copy of the guide, or order from the charity on 0161 257 0887. Hard copies of the guide are available for just £2.75, including P&P.