As the holidays, picnics, family reunions, graduations and weddings occur throughout the year, caregivers need to be given strategies regarding how to marry a safe diet to their loved one’s preferred texture, consistency, adaptive equipment and compensatory strategy needs without significant distress and without causing undue embarrassment or frustration.
Facilities and families can choose foods such as sweet potatoes, yogurt, custard or fruit puree in addition to standard picnic foods such as hamburgers and hotdogs. Additionally, many food service vendors offer pureed versions of everyday favorite foods that are appealing to the eye, tasty, and cost-effective. Knowing the risks associated with improper diet will help families make smart food choices. While it sounds harmless to eat those two bites of cake at her granddaughter’s wedding, it may, in fact, cause the resident serious physical harm.
As therapists, we are an integral part of a dynamic dining program. It is part of our job to educate and implement strategies for our residents that achieve successful eating, and preserve dignity simultaneously with safety, no matter what the setting, needs or diet.