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40% of rest and care home residents suffer from a form of dementia. For them, more than for other seniors, creating a context that encourages comfort and independence at mealtimes is important. The Dignicare programme was designed for these people. It has just been nominated at the Global Ageing Conference in Montreux, Switzerland.
As life expectancy increases, our society must face considerable challenges in terms of the care given to senior citizens. Caring better for the most fragile among us is at the heart of the Dignicare programme. Launched by the Sodexo Group in 2012, it offers concrete initiatives relating to nutrition for those suffering from dementia. In this context, moreover, Belgium is a benchmark for the Group. The expertise that we have developed enables other countries in which Sodexo is active to improve the quality of life of seniors.
Determining the specific needs and tastes of those suffering from dementia means they can be guaranteed greater autonomy, which is essential for their well-being.
This happens by way of small touches in the layout and decoration, for example. Colour is a factor that stimulates the appetite of those suffering from dementia. Providing them with red, green or orange plates and glasses encourages them to eat more because they draw their attention and increase their independence.
Fingerfood, promoted by the Dignicare programme, also increases the autonomy of persons suffering from dementia. The same is true of the Home Made Soft approach, a nutritional offering in which the texture of the meals is adapted to problems with swallowing. This is an ongoing problem among dementia sufferers.
Last September, Sodexo gave a presentation on Dignicare at the 2017 Global Ageing Conference in Montreux, Switzerland. This gave international recognition to Dignicare, underlining its humanist approach.
The Dignicare project has been validated by Paradox, the Flemish centre of expertise for dementia. “There are 122,000 people suffering from dementia in Belgium today,” says director Jurn Verschraegen. We believe the number will double by 2060. Looking after their nutrition and making mealtimes pleasant means ensuring their quality of life. And those around them are also relieved to see how much better their loved ones are feeling.”
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