10 July – Caroline Walker Trust lecture “Eating Our Way to a Healthy Old Age”

The Caroline Walker Trust held its 25th Anniversary Lecture last week and it was a really positive meeting.  We had 3 amazing speakers talking about various aspects of improving the nutritional status of older people.  Professor Janice Thompson asked as to consider what constitutes healthy ageing.  She prompted us to consider how we engage with older adults in a very diverse population with huge differences in perceptions of old age and what being healthy in old age is.  If we wish to tackle malnutrition in older people we need to be engaging with older adults much earlier and promoting a positive message about good lifestyle maintaining quality of life well into our old age.

Dementia is big issue and there are specific nutritional need associated with this condition.  It was a pleasure to hear Lee Martin telling us of his elegantly simple Dementia Mealtime Assessment Tool.  This tool helps front line staff, who may not be trained health professionals, to identify particular eating behaviours that may be displayed in a dementia sufferer and simple suggestions of how to overcome these using low cost interventions.  Whilst the tool has not been scientifically validated, those who have used the tool have reported how effective and supportive it is, they also comment how easy it is to use.  A longer version of the presentation given by Lee at the lecture is available at http://nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk/webinars/

Cathy Forbes, an award winning dietitian, presented her work in Luton and Bedfordshire that has made a huge impact on malnutrition and reduction in the use of Oral Nutrition Supplements.  Her passion and enthusiasm was infectious. For more information on her work then go to their website at http://www.sept.nhs.uk/Community-Health/Bedfordshire-Community-Health-Services/Food-First.aspx

It was a pleasure to be involved in organising this event, meeting the speakers and hearing their enthusiastic and informative presentations.


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