Resident nutritionists to help seniors stay independent

Nutrition students from the Université de Montréal spent several weeks with residents of a private seniors’ residence (RPA) to address their concerns.

This unique extension project brings together two generations: the younger ones have listened to their elders, who, in turn, have learned that their nutritional needs change with age. And apparently, the chemistry has settled between them. Me, I learned that the old person needs more proteins. What I didn’t knowexplains Andrée Tremblay (79).

Many residents who have attended the workshops say they were surprised to learn that they needed to ingest 20% to 25% more protein than younger adults.

The students produced video capsules to explain the different sources of protein and give tips to seniors to include more vegetable protein in their meals, but also their snacks.

It was not our way of cooking, but for me, it is really interesting to have this contact with young people who bring us new thingsexclaims Cécile Lafontaine, 86, who says she is open to the idea of ​​changing her habits.

Examples of snacks made with vegetable proteins: lemon square made with tofu, chickpeas and grilled edamame, salty bread with cheese, flatbreads with Greek yogurt.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Anne-Louise Despatie

It is fundamental to be aware of what we eat. It also saves money and avoids waste, says resident Gilles Rivest. At 77, he has already started a shift by excluding red meat from his diet.

The nutritionists’ project also means that the kitchen here has improved, because the management [de la résidence] is sensitive to this fact. And then the food, it has to be pleasant toosays Mr. Rivest.

It is thanks to Groupe Sélection’s donation to the Université de Montréal that master’s students, such as Julie Delorme, were able to set up their office in one of the Group’s residences in Rosemont and discover autonomous seniors.

In my training, I had not really seen this clientele. We saw more people in CHSLDs, more advanced in their lives. She was able to meet, in their community, retirees for whom a healthy diet helps to preserve their autonomy.

Eating better, to age better. Since this summer, seniors have been able to benefit from the advice of nutrition students from the University of Montreal. A unique project, in a residence in Rosemont, which will last 3 years. A report by Anne-Louise Despatie.

The director of the University’s Nutrition Department, Marie Marquis, recognizes that this is a clientele that is less talked about in training programs. However, it is the Quebec of today and it is the Quebec of tomorrow, because it is expected that, within 10 years, one in four people will be over 65 years old.

She adds that Groupe Sélection’s donation will make it possible for another two years to address other themes such as the importance of fibre, hydration for seniors and maintaining a healthy diet despite rising prices.

Provided that residents first show their interest in these issues, she says. We want to start from the questions that interest them. There is no prescription, no obligation. It’s meant to be an exchange.

The themes chosen are approached based on evidence in research.

When we decided to talk about proteins, it was certain that we would be talking about vegetable proteins, explains Ms. Marquis. It was to say that we have no choice but to turn to them for questions of sustainable development, but we are going to turn to them too, given our portfolio.explains Ms. Marquis.

The content prepared by the students up to now will be offered in all Groupe Sélection residences, but the video capsules will then be available to the general public.

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