In this video on AgeSong 2014 Intern Orientation: Nourishment & Relational Care, Janna O’Sullivan, Director of Nourishment presents a discussion on Eldercare Nourishment and Relational Care; it’s implementation and how the program succeeds in the AgeSong Communities.
Through a presentation and discussion Janna covers the AgeSong Nourishment program, how it plays a part in the AgeSong vision, eldercare and in the lives of the residents. She discusses the importance of “choice” for residents and how the Nourishment program emphasizes the residents ability to make their choices for their meals. Janna talks about how all the teams work together to implement and maintain this program.
Janna opens the talk with by introducing herself. She starts the talk off with an intro to a new resident intake. One of the common occurrences before coming to AgeSong, the prospective resident has often been diagnosed “Failure to Thrive.” Or they won’t eat. Perhaps the incoming elder has lost weight and is not able to gain it. At AgeSong that does not happen, fortunately. Given the nature of AgeSong’s Nourishment Program what happens is exactly the opposite, they thrive and they gain weight. Janna continues the discussion by explaining how the AgeSong teams make that happen.
The purpose of the AgeSong Nourishment program as it is implemented in the AgeSong residences is therapeutic in nature. The latest research in the field of long-term care and the health and well being of older adults says that when they have choice over what they eat and they are part of the production of that food they are healthier and happier.
Janna discusses the reality that when a person has reached Assisted Living, the elder has lost almost all their control in their life, choices are now made for them. Luckily AgeSong has the ability to give the elders their choices. And this allows the elders to make decisions about food and the elder can exert control. Janna believes “that the food is the last place that you still have a choice in this type of situation.”
Before intake the Residential chef meets with the family to determine the elders favorite foods and meals. When the resident moves in they are served their favorite meal as their very first meal. It is very effective as a basis for the start of new relationship.
Food at AgeSong is all about Relational Care, it is the opportunity to connect with a person, really listen to them and get to know something about them.
The Nourishment program does not say “No” to residents about getting foods they want. The communities all have a standing policy if it is within their power they will make it happen.
Janna encourages the Interns to bring any food-related info about a resident to the Kitchens- there are Resident “Diet Cards” that have the residents photo, their Likes, Dislikes and their Allergies on them. She lets the Interns know where these cards are kept for each resident.
Janna goes into some detail about the types of diets that AgeSong supports. If an intern would like to know which diet a resident is following they can find that info on the resident’s diet card.
Food is about Comfort and AgeSong’s Nourishment program is designed to provide that comfort and the relational care that goes with it. Food is about love..it is the “Act of” making something for someone that gives it it’s love. Food is about Engagement, meals shared and relationships. Janna encourages the interns to “Sit down, have a conversation and engage the resident.”
Janna also covers food, hunger, hydration and related incidents of “acting out.” Included are some tips and thoughts on engaging with the resident if you are in a situation where you are feeding a resident.
There are residents who cannot articulate that they are hungry. what happens if they get hungry? They get angry. Acting out behaviour is absolutely going to happen if someone is hungry. Acting out does not mean medication. Number 1 medication in AgeSong is Food. Go there first.
We want to keeping the residents fed and we need to be aware of keeping the residents hydrated! Janna gives some warning signs that might indicate a resident needs hydrating. She encourages the interns to directly ask the resident what they have drank today.
Be open aware and open to authentic opportunities. Share yourselves, share your food share whatever it is that you are most passionate about with one of the residents and you will connect authentically.
Nader also speaks about being mindful of food waste as the latest statistics show that up to 40% of all food in the US is wasted.
The AgeSong 2014 Intern Orientation: Nourishment and Relational Care video is one of the AgeSong Educational Series videos. The video of the session is one of many filmed during the two-day orientation for the AgeSong Gero-Wellness. These orientation sessions are the first training sessions that the interns will engage in during their 1-year internship in the Gero-Wellness.
View the AgeSong Educational Series videos here on our AgeSong Library of Videos page.