Call for improved meals in care homes is led by Gainsborough expert

Norman Dinsdale (left) with celebrity chef Richard Fox in his role as a senior lecturer in hospitality management.
Norman Dinsdale (left) with celebrity chef Richard Fox in his role as a senior lecturer in hospitality management.

An academic and former chef from Gainsborough is on a mission to improve food and drink for dementia patients living in care homes.

Norman Dinsdale, an ex-town councillor, unearthed some shocking findings when he carried out research at residential homes for the elderly.

After interviewing caterers and managers, he discovered that the average, mainly council-funded care home spends only £2.44 a day on meals for each resident, and often this was cheap, convenience food.

Mr Dinsdale, who is a senior lecturer in hospitality management at Sheffield Hallam University, said: “For people living with dementia, nourishing food and drink is an essential requirement.

“But, at some homes, I found there was a limited choice, or no choice at all.

“There was a high use of convenience foods, such as packet soups, rather than fresh. For dessert, there was Angel Delight-type stuff, jelly or cakes.

“I’m sure some private care homes are excellent, but there are just as many that are really struggling.

“It’s about time money for this was delivered. Something needs to be done nationally.”

Mr Dinsdale, who spent 40 years in the hospitality industry, felt that too many homes were more concerned with getting the food cooked and plated up, regardless of whether it was healthy and nutritious.

He added: “The average of £2.44 is not enough to adequately feed and hydrate a frail dementia patient whose only joy of the day might be sitting down for something to eat.”

Mr Dinsdale’s campaign is being backed by the Action on Elder Abuse charity.