Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, commonly known as HILS, is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which delivers Meals on Wheels across Hertfordshire. The service was established with support from Hertfordshire County Council in 2007 and apetito’s Local Authority division has supported HILS throughout this period.
On Monday 22nd January, a new parliamentary report was launched by MP Frank Field, highlighting the hidden hunger and malnutrition issues amongst older people in the UK.
Research from 2011 found an estimated 1.3 million older people were affected by malnutrition in the UK. The report calls for updated information and new robust figures, estimating the issue now costs around £12bn per year and rising.
It recognises that Government and Local Authority budgets are under pressure, but highlights the need of increased funding to put social care on a sustainable footing.
Several recommendations to tackle malnutrition are made in the report: to take winter fuel payments from wealthier pensioners and redistribute the funds to community projects, to increase meals on wheels services and for supermarkets to offer slow shopping lanes, as well as lunch clubs at instore cafés.
The report’s concerns reflect those of apetito following a survey conducted by the company in 2017. The research of 2,000 people aged between 30 and 71 with elderly parents discovered 79 per cent said their parents had not discussed malnutrition with their GP. It found 47 per cent don’t know where to seek advice on the issue, with four in ten people unaware of the symptoms of malnutrition.
HILS Chief Executive Sarah Wren contributed to the document, and to mark its publication, BBC Breakfast exclusively covered this through a live TV broadcast from HILS’ St Albans site. This featured live discussions and case studies with HILS clients, along with interviews with Sarah Wren.
Roger Hargreaves, Divisional Manager apetito Local Authorities said; “It’s brilliant to see our partner HILS really driving home the importance of meals on wheels. These services are fundamental to combatting malnutrition in older, vulnerable people. They must be supported – for the sake of the NHS, our social care services and above all, for our older population.”