Caring at Easter
Thanks to the four-day holiday, Easter is one of the busiest times for catering teams working in care homes.
“Our teams love Easter. It is a special time when residents are buoyant at the thought of spending time with their loved ones,” said James Clear, Care UK’s hotel services manager. “So, as well as creating enjoyable food for residents, chefs have an increase in visitors to their homes so it is their opportunity to impress them!”
Here are Care UK’s handy tips on how to keep residents and guests entertained this Easter.
Aside from the traditional egg hunt, and holding a raffle, cooking is a good activity to involve residents. “Taste and smell are powerful memory triggers,” adds James. “The combination of remembering cooking certain dishes and the wonderfully tactile nature of many of the activities makes it ideal, especially for those whose dementia has begun to affect their life skills.”
Chocolate bird nests – popular with residents and young visitors, these treats are easy to make and great to eat. Puffed rice make a good base or shredded wheat gives it a more authentic bird-nest look.
Simnel or Apostle cake – traditional Easter fare. Some older people will not only have enjoyed eating them with their families but they may also have baked them so this will help provoke some fond memories. “Although some residents may no longer be able to use an oven, they can help with stirring the mixture and then sit with their family or guests to help them roll the 11 eggs needed to go on the marzipan top,” said James.
Easter eggs – not only wonderful to eat, decorating them is great fun! Use lots of coloured icing tubes and edible decorative treats. “Chocolate is great; it’s easy to digest, releases endorphins and our residents are delighted they can give the eggs they have decorated to loved ones,” said James.