Improving life for older vegans

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Care sector reforms: older vegans in the spotlight

In conjunction with The Vegan Society, HomeCare has published an article about issues surrounding older vegans and vegetarians in the care sector. Published on the 10th March, the authors agreed that this issue is ‘a matter of human rights and equality in all areas’. There is much to be done in tackling the lack of respect and consideration given to older vegans and vegetarians, and the article discusses ways forward for care homes to make more informed choices and take action to improve.

Amanda Baker, senior advocacy and policy officer of The Vegan Society, was quoted at length in a section on veganism:

“The care sector has a duty to enable older people to enjoy appropriate, nutritious food. This is a matter of human rights and equality in all areas of life. We are certainly aware of cases where older vegans have struggled to access vegan-friendly food, toiletries and cultural activities in the care sector"

“If an organisation has policies, criteria or processes that put vegans at a disadvantage because of our vegan beliefs, this may be indirect discrimination"

“Vegan living is becoming much better understood. So the numbers of vegan clients for care services is likely to rise steadily. Also, equality monitoring reveals that many service providers are still unsure about their duties under human rights and equalities legislation”

A recent study on protein intake, quoted in a Guardian article on animal vs. plant proteins, found that ‘respondents aged 50–65 reporting high protein intake had a 75% increase in overall mortality and a 4-fold increase in cancer death risk during the following 18 years. These associations were either abolished or attenuated if the proteins were plant derived.’ A good working knowledge of veganism in care homes would mean that good quality plant proteins can provide not just an equivalent, but a superior level of nutrition to animal proteins for older people.

The authors of the HomeCare article asked, "Should the care sector be doing more to take the needs of older vegan and vegetarian into consideration?"

“Yes!” says Amanda.

“Vegan-friendly service provision can help carer workers meet the needs of just about any client, since plant-based solutions are appropriate for almost anyone. Vegan living is becoming much better understood, so the numbers of vegan clients for care services is likely to rise steadily”

Read the full article here and check out this easy vegan recipe for older vegans – a balanced amount of high-quality plant protein, high in fibre, and packed with vitamins:

Spinach and Chickpea curry

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 15 Minutes

Ready In: 20 Minutes

Servings: 4 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans

(chickpeas), drained and rinsed

1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu, cubed

1 bunch fresh spinach, stems removed

1 teaspoon dried basil or to taste 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn

1 tablespoon curry paste

salt to taste

ground black pepper to taste

1. In a large wok or skillet heat oil over medium heat; sauté onions until translucent. Stir in creamed corn and curry paste. Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes. As you stir, add salt, pepper and garlic. 

2. Stir in garbanzo beans and gently fold in tofu. Add spinach and cover. When spinach is tender, remove from heat and stir in basil.

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