Homebound elderly on Meals-On-Wheels programme to get healthier, tastier meals

The Agency for Integrated Care is thus teaming up with Soup Restaurant, known for its home-style dishes, to revamp the dishes served to the elderly at home to give them tastier, healthier meals. The Health Promotion Board (HPB) will also provide nutritional advice and will provide tips such as using healthier ingredients like brown rice. For the first time, HPB has developed a set of nutritional guidelines for the elderly that will be rolled out to VWOs and commercial caterers to come up with healthier recipes.


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Here is the press release from Agency for Integrated Care (AIC):

650 Elderly to Enjoy Tastier and More Nutritious Meals under the Enhanced "Meals On Wheels" (MOW) Programme

Senior Minister of State (SMS) for Health and Manpower Dr Amy Khor launched the enhanced MOW programme during her visit to Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities' (West) (THK West) kitchen today, where she also visited the homes of several elderly under THK West's MOW programme to deliver a specially-prepared Chinese New Year (CNY) meal. The enhanced MOW programme is part of a Quality Improvement (QI) initiative under the Agency for Integrated Care's (AIC) Intermediate and Long-Term Care (ILTC) Nutrition Movement, which aims to enhance the nutritional value of meals in the ILTC sector. This is in response to feedback from elderly clients under the MOW programme that they would like better taste, nutrition and variety in their meals. By improving the quality of the meals, the elderly will increase their meal consumption and have their nutritional needs met.

The programme comprises three components. First, AIC will identify partners to provide Chef Consultancy services to the MOW providers to improve the taste and nutritional value of the meals, with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) providing advice on the nutritional aspects. Second, AIC will review and improve kitchen processes and equipment. Third, HPB will encourage the use of healthier ingredients such as brown rice, healthier oil and salt.

As part of the Chef Consultancy initiative, AIC and Soup Restaurant have teamed up to enhance the quality of home-delivered meals for the MOW Programme under THK West and Sunshine Welfare Action Mission (SWAMI). About 650 elderly under THK West and SWAMI are expected to benefit from an enhanced MOW menu which will start after CNY.

To mark the start of the enhanced menu, elderly clients will receive a special CNY menu over the festive period. Elderly clients of THK West's MOW programme received a CNY meal comprising pumpkin rice and four side dishes including seafood and yam paste dessert prepared by the Soup Restaurant and THK West today. This meal was designed in partnership with the HPB to enhance the nutritional value of the meals.

Over the next six months and under the guidance and supervision of AIC, HPB and Soup Restaurant, THK West and SWAMI will enhance their menu to deliver meals that are tastier and more nutritious to their elderly clients.

Head, Business Development of Soup Restaurant Group, Mr Ang Kian Peng said, "We are very honoured to partner AIC in delivering better quality of care to the community care sector. We are known for our authentic home-style dishes, so this is a wonderful opportunity to share our experience and expertise to make a meaningful difference for the less privileged. Our Soup Restaurant chefs have already started collaborating with THK West's chefs to plan the menus. We will also be providing our ready to use sauces to provide more variety, and our services to standardise the taste of the different dishes. THK West will also be able to leverage on our supply chain to secure better ingredients at more competitive prices."

Chairman of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities, Mr Lee Kim Siang said, "With the new menu planned under the enhanced MOW programme, elderly residents in our neighbourhood will receive more than just a delicious meal, but a meal with higher nutritional value to ensure their good health."

THK West and SWAMI are the first two service providers to participate in AIC's MOW QI initiative. While AIC plans to engage and invite more MOW service providers to participate, service providers such as TOUCH Home Care have taken steps on its own initiative to enhance the quality of their MOW programme. TOUCH has revamped its MOW menu and reduced the amount of salt used in its dishes. AIC aims to roll out the MOW QI initiative to two more providers in March 2014 and to all seven providers by 2015. This will benefit about 2,000 elderly in the community over the next two years.

Chief Executive Officer of AIC, Dr Jason Cheah said, "Home meal delivery is an important form of care support for elderly who prefer to age at home. AIC is delighted to bring together Soup Restaurant, HPB, Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities, and SWAMI to review and co-create a new home delivery menu for home-bound elderly. The enhanced menu will provide better nutrition, tastier and healthier choices for these elderly. With better nutrition, it is our hope that they will continue to live well and age gracefully in the community. Family members and caregivers of elderly using such a service will also enjoy peace of mind knowing that the basic welfare of their loved ones is taken care of."

Dr Khor said "The Meals on Wheels Programme is an important pillar of our commitment to support our elderly to age-in-place. The improved meals will allow our elderly to enjoy tastier and more nutritious meals so that they will not be at risk of malnourishment. This will enable our elderly to be healthier and have better quality of life as they age at home and in the community."