A restaurant at a West Byfleet care home will be one of the first in the country to offer meals safe for those with swallowing difficulties to visitors.

West Hall in Parvis Road will host the launch of Anchor’s Fine Dining Experience on Thursday 2 February for older people who live with dysphagia - a condition that makes swallowing food difficult and often very stressful.

The aim of the launch is to demonstrate that high quality pureed food can be made by all of Anchor’s care homes across the country. West Hall is taking this one step further – offering dysphagic meals to any relatives or friends visiting residents at the home.

As part of Anchor’s drive to create appetising and visually appealing modified food, the care home charity uses traditional piping or quenelle so that textured meals are well presented, often reflecting the shape of the original produce.

Anchor’s Service Delivery Consultant Andy Seal, who is leading the fine dining experience, said: “Mealtimes are central to all of our lives, giving us the opportunity for social interaction over good food.

“But while most of us look forward to mealtimes, they can be a terrifying and uninspiring experience for those who have dysphagia. We are leading the way when it comes to making mealtimes a pleasurable experience for all of our residents, an increasing number of whom are living with the condition.”

The College of Language and Speech Therapists have found up to 75% of care home residents have the condition. And following a stroke, 76% of people will remain with moderate dysphagia and 15% with profound symptoms. The college has revealed that more than 90% of people with motor neurone disease will develop dysphagia.

Andy added: “We want to highlight that a fine dining experience is possible for those with dysphagia, with the meals being prepared to the same level of presentation and taste as a Michelin Star restaurant. We hope to replicate the standards at this event in our other homes.”

To prepare for the launch event, staff at West Hall held a rehearsal with some of the residents tasting the food prepared.

Valerie Hemingway, 83, who has lived at West Hall since 2014, said she really enjoyed the food made during the rehearsal.

She said: “I thought the food was really good. I especially loved the asparagus. I was surprised by the quality of the food and I enjoyed the service.”

Good food is central to life at Anchor’s 125 care homes across England and its Bishopstoke Park is the first retirement village in the UK to be awarded an AA Rosette. 

Find out more about the home on our West Hall website.

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