Many people develop a decreased appetite as they grow older. This can lead to a variety of health concerns if not managed correctly, with malnutrition being a common concern in the elderly.
During lockdown, and jumping on the ‘grow your own’ bandwagon, many of the residents at local care and nursing homes showed an interest in growing their own vegetables. And some of residents have proven to be very good at it! This has not only helped to keep residents occupied during lockdown, but they have also become more interested in eating the food that they have helped to grow.
Rosalie, who is an avid gardener, and a resident at Hampden Hall in Aylesbury, has been growing tomatoes on her windowsill, patiently waiting for them to flourish. As they started to grow, Rosalie contacted her friends for some additional supplies. They sent in some larger pots, with Lifestyle and Community Lead, Lucie, also donating soil and compost. Rosalie now eats the cherry tomatoes straight from the plant, her favourite tomato being ‘Gardeners Delight’.
Rosalie said, ‘I am very pleased with the tomatoes, and they have grown well on my window ledge, there’s been plenty of produce! I would like to grow them again next year and possibly some other vegetables out in the garden.’
In the secure sensory garden, residents at Hampden Hall have been looking after their herb garden. Predominantly used in Namaste sessions for residents living with dementia, their herb garden helps to stimulate the senses of smell, sight and texture and has been most appreciated by the in-house catering team.
Across town, on Wendover Road, Byron House Care Home has also been busy growing vegetables. Bertie, the resident gardener, waters the plants, and checks in on the vegetables daily to see how they are growing.
Once the vegetables are fully grown, Bertie will pick and hand them over to the kitchen, with the chefs making the most delicious dishes for the residents. The chef has previously used the vegetables in roast dinners, with the herbs coming in handy when seasoning the chicken.
Byron House’s collection of homegrown vegetables includes courgettes, chilli peppers, runner beans, tomatoes, apples, as well as their aromatic herb garden.
Bertie firmly believes that, ‘Homegrown vegetables, are better for you!’ Not only do homegrown vegetables usually taste better, they are usually loaded with more nutrients than those bought at the supermarket. Excellent sources of Vitamin A, E, and K in homegrown vegetables, have been known to help prevent heart disease, support respiratory health, slow the ageing process, and promote healthy hair, skin, teeth, and strong bones.