- Patricia Riley
How does Vista Cove get residents to eat and maintain a healthy weight?
Many people with Dementia experience sudden changes in appetite preferences and an increase in unhealthy cravings. Research shows that as the disease progresses, taste buds diminish, insulin in the brain can drop and some people experience intense cravings for high-calorie foods. As such, these changes can lead to appetite loss, weight loss or increased cravings of sugary foods and weight gain.
To ensure proper nutrition of our residents, Vista Cove partners with a national company that delivers fresh groceries and provides menus, recipes and other services. With the leadership of Dining Manager Anita Correa, Vista Cove’s cooks prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks in an on-site commercial kitchen, 365 days a year. Residents and day program participants enjoy a variety of nutritious and delicious “home-cooked” meals from roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy to chicken pot pie to baked French toast with sausage to sliced apples for a snack.
When asked about her menu planning, Anita replied, “Our goal is to provide not only healthy meals, but meals that the residents will enjoy eating. We use herbs, spices, onions and bell peppers to add flavor. As a result, we don’t use a lot of sodium or oils. I’ve brought in a few of my family recipes such as beef stew, apple crisp and Waldorf salad to add to our menus,” she continued. “We put a lot of thought and time into ensuring the meals are nutritionally balanced by providing 2,000 calories per day from the four food groups (protein, fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates) and are appetizing.”
In addition to preparing daily meals, Anita and her staff cook for special events held at Vista Cove such as resident birthdays, annual Thanksgiving dinner, Easter, Christmas and Gathering at the Cove.