As the health and social sector marks Nutrition and Hydration Week, an award-winning care group is highlighting its ongoing commitment to providing exceptional quality and hospitality through a series of events.

Aria Care Group, which has over 50 communities across England, Scotland and Jersey, prides itself on providing ‘hospitality from the heart’; a nutrition and hydration framework which enables and encourages homes to create a more holistic, nutritious and well balanced food, drink and hospitality offer.

According to Age UK, it’s estimated that around one in ten people over the age of 65 are malnourished or are at risk of malnutrition – over one million older people in the UK. In 2018, the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN) reported that 34 per cent of older care home residents were malnourished.

Now in its 12th year, Nutrition and Hydration Week (11th-17th March) aims to bring people together to create energy, focus and fun in order to highlight and educate people on the value of food and drink in maintaining health and well being in health and social care.

James Clear, director of hospitality at Aria Care said: “Our aim is always to provide the very best hospitality experience for the people living in our communities. Food and drink is really important for social interaction and comfort, but it’s also key that as well as being delicious, our meals are as nutritionally balanced as possible to keep residents as healthy – both mentally and physically – as possible.

“We know there are many reasons why a person in a care home may struggle to eat well, from varying levels of dysphagia to a loss or change of appetite, which is why we are proud to provide ‘hospitality from the heart’; taking the time to get to know each and every resident that comes through the doors of one of our communities to find out about them and their preferences when it comes to what they eat and drink.”

During the week, Aria’s communities are being encouraged to showcase their offering in various ways, from Monday Munchies (small bites) and Thirsty Thursday, promoting the importance of hydration, to participating in a global tea party on Wednesday, 13th March.

The week will culminate with a community Open Day on Saturday, 16th March from 10am to 4pm, which every home will be taking part in.

In addition to creating a nutritionally well-balanced menu, allowing for consistency across the board, Aria’s framework allows for; flexibility in delivering to individual dietary requirements and preferences; improving the wellbeing of its residents; and enabling chefs and catering teams to use their creativity and flair.

James said: “There is undoubtedly still a big stigma around care home food, which is why our nutrition and hydration framework is shared with all of our homes to ensure consistency. In doing so, we can ensure that our residents are not only enjoying their food but, in doing so, are getting the associated health benefits that come from eating a nutritionally balanced diet.”

Delivery of the nutrition and hydration framework is supported by Aria’s recently launched Chef Academy which aims to support people with their development and career prospects and nurture Aria’s own homegrown culinary talent.

To find out more about Aria Care Group, please visit www.ariacare.co.uk