Food of life

In the interests of seeing the (wine) glass half full, I’ve taken to cooking with a gusto in the years since being a carer became part of my life—and generally speaking, feel the better (and probably heavier) for it. 

For many carers, however, cooking is not so much something to skite about as it is an area of serious concern. 

An article published this week in the British Guardian highlights the problem

What, after all, is there to feel good about for the person required to arduously feed a loved one who can only eat very slowly indeed? And what are the associated risks of malnutrition for those stuck in such a situation? 

According to the Guardian, some 57% of British carers surveyed by Carers UK last year said the person they looked after had problems with their nutrition. 

Half of those people, as well, said they had been given no nutritional advice or support; more than half admitted they neglected their own diet because of the demands of caring. 

The same survey estimates that three million people in the UK are thought to be living with or at risk from malnutrition and one million of them are older people living in the community. If those numbers were to hold true in the New Zealand context, we would be talking about tens of thousands of local carers. 

Happily, in cases where they had been given cooking advice, 80% of carers acted on it, and were nutritionally the better for it. 

Bon appétit!

David Cohen is a Wellington based author and journalist who often writes about ageing, caring, and disability issues.