“I want things to be right for her”When they connected with Zoom, Liz in London and her mother Diana in Pukekohe, it was clear something was wrong. Diana, 87, a resident of Pukekohe Retirement Village, was losing weight and her sparkle was gone. “I noticed she couldn’t speak, she wouldn’t look at the camera and was really confused,” says Liz, who jumped on a plane to assess the situation in person. “It was really quite traumatic.” A dementia patient who had been in care since the death of her husband, Diana had lost interest in food. Her weight was dropping, her skin was dry and scaly, and she looked haggard. Her mood was low too. “She is very fragile – if she got the flu or a cold, it could knock her right over. Staff sat me down and said, ‘She can’t swallow, so she can’t have normal food.’” When Liz saw the food her mum was offered, she could understand why she was refusing to eat. Each mound of pureed food was brown and indistinguishable from the next. It did not appeal to the senses. With support from the retirement village, who have been “wonderfully supportive” Liz was able to switch her mum to fortified shaped food from the Pure Food Co, which was transformative. “Aesthetically it looked fantastic. When you normally see pureed food it looks pretty gungy, but with the Pure Food Co there was lots of color and the shapes were nice.” Most importantly Diana liked it, and the health benefits were soon apparent. “She is eating a lot,” says Liz. “I think she looks fabulous. She is happier, of course, because she wants to eat now, she gets a variety of flavours and her weight has stabilised. I think it’s made a big difference to her body and skin and it gives her her dignity back. I’m really chuffed.” For Liz, now back in London after spending a few months with her mother, there is relief in knowing Diana is healthier and happier than before. “My mum is my only family, she is the most precious thing in the world to me,” says Liz. “I want things to be right for her.
When the team at Essie Summers Retirement Village started using The Pure Food Co texture-modified foods, they targeted those residents who were underweight and suffering from pressure sores. The improvement was so dramatic (within 30 days, their weight had increased and their sores were healing) that most residents at Essie Summers now consume Pure Food products so they all get to share in the benefits.