Food is a vital part of maintaining a happy and healthy life. There can be lots of reasons as to why this may become a major issue for people with care needs however. This may be around the difficulty of preparing food due to, for example, difficulties operating the simplest of equipment or standing at the cooker. Motivation can also be difficult when you live alone. It is also the case that a number of medical conditions or the treatment for those conditions can lead to a loss of appetite or interest in food.
There are a number of ways that these problems can be addressed.
“Meals on wheels” services still exist in most Councils, for those who qualify to receive help from the Council. Under these arrangements Councils will employ agencies to deliver pre-prepared meals, usually at lunch-time. These will sometimes be frozen and need heating up in an oven or microwave, or may be delivered hot and need eating there and then. There will be a charge but it will be subsidised. The same agency is likely to also offer the same service at full cost for those who do not qualify for help from the Council. There are also a number of large companies who supply a range of nutritious meals at home for people who have difficulty providing for themselves.
The NHS provides lots of advice around healthy eating including meal suggestions that are healthier and cheaper. Additionally there is a lot of guidance for people about the best foods to eat with particular conditions such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes etc. This will include meal-plans and tips about how to make interesting food with minimum effort. Support Groups and National Charities provide a wealth of information in this respect.
An additional alternative some of the time might be to attend luncheon clubs run as part of Council-funded day care provision or similar services provided through churches, community centres or other religious groups. Again there is likely to be a small charge but is likely to provide very good value for money as well as the opportunity for company and other entertainment that might be provided.
Most sources of help available will be very locality-specific, and you are likely to need to make enquiries locally to follow up on any of these ideas. If you do want to find out more we suggest that you look at sources of advice and information first.
As with everything else the important thing is to carefully consider what the consequences of your situation are, what you want to do about it, what you want to achieve, and what resources you have available. Then with this information make a plan