Technology has become an intrinsic part of human life, improving and enhancing everything that surrounds you. It has a wide variety of uses. For example, a student would take Java assignment help to make it easier to complete their Java homework. Similarly, the government makes full use of technology to strengthen its borders.
Both of the above examples show the wide variation in the use of technology in the 21st century. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it has found itself in aged-care, assisting both residents and their caregivers. Today, many aged-care organizations have adapted technology into its folds to provide an overall improvement of the lives of their aged residents.
The Role Of Technology In Food Offering In Aged Care
One such area in which technology has been crucial is food. Older adults need to maintain strict control over their diets to maintain a happy and healthy life. While the requirement of carbohydrates is less in old age, it is essential to maintain a healthy balance of protein, vitamins and minerals.
A 2017 report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare highlights the growing number of aged people in recent years. Researchers observed that the number of older people in Australia had doubled from 8% in 1964 to 15% in 2014. As a result, aged-care organizations have also noticed an increase in residents over the past few years.
As this number grows, it becomes challenging to meet the dietary requirements of all the residents manually. Therefore, let’s look into the ways how tech ology has made things much easier in this regard:
No need for handwritten records
Older people have various dietary requirements to keep their bodies healthy. As the doctors check up on the residents regularly, there is always the possibility of newer nutritional change suggestions based on the health conditions of the residents.
In aged-care organizations that still depend on paperwork, it can take a lot of time for the caregivers to fill out all the forms manually and submit them to the catering team. As there are multiple residents, the entire process can take a week to a month to update. This need might go obsolete by this time the dietary requirements reach the aged-care catering team.
Therefore, manually updating the dietary requirements is challenging and makes things difficult for both the residents and the caregivers. Technology helps to make this situation much more manageable.
Souped Up, a mobile care monitoring software used in multiple aged-care facilities across the country, updates the database with the dietary changes in real time. Hence, the information gets relayed to the catering without any delay. Thus, it makes it possible for the facility to prepare the required food for the residents.
Innovative food to meet the nutritional requirements
As life expectancy increases, the average lifespan of an individual has increased from 60 to 80 in the past decade. However, this doesn’t mean that the final years is all a bed of roses. Malnourishment is one of the common problems among people over 65. It can cause several health issues, such as a weak immune system and muscle weakness if it goes undiagnosed.
Without proper nutrition, there is an increased risk for chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, researchers carried out a study in the European countries using the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) screening tool. According to the results, the was a prevalence of undernutrition of 5.8% in community-dwelling and 50.5% in rehabilitation centres.
Hence, the Australian Dietary Guidelines advises every person above the age of 60 to include a wide variety of colourful vegetables, beans, fruits, cereals, lean meat, fish and eggs from the five food groups. However, people develop many difficulties chewing, swallowing, and digesting in old age due to various reasons. As a result, it becomes challenging for them to stick to the proper dietary requirements.
With the help of innovative technology, it is possible to develop innovative food products that are jampacked with nutrition and have modified textures to make them easier for consumption. Thus, technology in aged care plays a significant role in ensuring that the caregivers can meet the residents’ dietary requirements and make their overall experience more rewarding.
For example, older adults suffer from a 38% decrease in salivary flow, making it challenging to form food bolus. An excellent solution for this is to develop soft aerated cereal foods that can stimulate more salivary flow and make it easier to swallow. Another method used in certain aged-care homes is blade tenderisation, where the sharp-edged blades perforate the meat to cut the muscle fibres and make them tender.
Summing it up,
Elderly residents in aged-care facilities have to face various age-related psychological and physical changes that can be detrimental to their health. Without proper nutrition, the chances of leading a healthy deteriorate significantly. With the introduction of technology in aged-care facilities, it becomes more convenient for the caregivers to cater to the specific dietary needs of each resident. The real-time automatic update of the dietary database and the introduction of innovative foods are ways technology enhances the food offering in aged-care facilities.