What’s Your Daily Food Cost?
Could you feed yourself and your family a healthy diet on just $9 per person per day?
As of July 1, 2017, that’s how much Ontario long-term-care homes will have to feed seniors. That’s an increase from the current daily raw food allowance of $8.33 per person per day.
It may not sound like a lot, but this 67 cent increase is larger than previous increases – from 2014 to 2016, funding increased from $7.80 to $8.33. The funding has not increased each year, and there is still no commitment for future annual increases.
This “raw food allowance” is meant to cover 3 meals and 3 snacks per day, as well as any additional costs for nutritional supplements, special snacks, special theme day meals, sample plates and food waste.
For many long-term-care residents, breakfast, lunch and dinner are the most anticipated events of the day — but many are disappointed when they are offered mostly frozen vegetables, frozen and canned fruits, and processed meats, due to budget constraints.
The low-budget contradicts Ontario Ministry’s strict standards for long-term-care menus. Ontario long-term-care home menus are expected to meet Canada’s Food Guide recommendations and current Dietary Reference Intakes by providing specific amounts of protein, fibre, vegetables and fruit, including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and nutritious meats and fish.
However, residents do not receive these foods as often as they should – and many homes are serving cheap foods with little nutritional value – because the daily “raw food allowance” does not cover the costs.
In order to improve seniors’ diet and quality of life, long-term-care groups have been pushing for an increase in the “raw food allowance”, which will enable homes to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables, and nutritious foods. However, even with the July 1st funding increase, seniors will still receive less than inmates in Ontario who are fed on $9.73 a day.