I am a light eater. As soon as it gets light I start to eat. So, sadly, my ability to achieve effective ‘mind over platter’ is weak and blaming ‘shrinking shirts’ only gives ¾ inch of leeway before the lie becomes obvious. I am however reliably informed that, whatever age you are, and whatever your eating habits, it’s never too late to improve your diet.

I find dieting boring, unsustainable and thus pointless. But I also know it’s time to ‘do something positive’. So whilst I hope to lose some weight this year I also want to help promote good nutrition and hydration generally (and humanely…). More specifically I want to raise awareness of how nutrition and hydration affects local people with dementia. By engaging with as many local professionals and other people as possible I hope to gradually help establish some Top Tips of particular relevance to people in the Borough.

You will be able to see how this develops on Facebook @homeinsteadrotherham but really ‘the Project’ will be what everyone involved makes of it. If you have ideas for events, large and small, to raise awareness in your locality and maybe to support a charity such as Alzheimer’s let me know so I can help promote it.

Or maybe you might have recipes, competitions and practical Top Tips in mind? The more strands, based upon the experience of supporting loved ones, the better. It’s time to prove the ‘Rotherham food sceptics’ wrong. Having a mission to support a vulnerable group and their carers may be just the inspiration needed to draw things together locally and as individuals.

Some basics:

Healthy fats. We are told we should choose healthy unsaturated fats to improve blood cholesterol levels and lower our risk of heart disease. It also benefits insulin levels and blood sugar. Omega-3 fats can apparently benefit the brain and our mood. They are typically found in fish, nuts and seeds. My best Christmas present was an oil free ridged griddle pan. Bacon now cooks only in its own fat.

Exercise. Regular exercise helps us stay healthy, independent and energetic as you get older. A walk need not be strenuous and can be interesting. On a flat stroll down the side of the canal we saw the electric blue streak of a Kingfisher. I have never seen one in January or so far north. 150 minutes a week is recommended. Walk the grandchildren to school and avoid just ‘walking to the car’.

Less sugar. Slowly reduce sugar in your diet including the hidden sugars in such as ready meals, tinned food and pasta sauce. Discover ‘Sofrito’ – I had to Google it – and other healthy, tasty ‘bases’ for fresh dishes. Natural foods, herbs and spices give taste buds a thrill. Diets need not be all tasteless lettuce leaves and bran.

Fibre. Our digestion can become less efficient as we age, so including more fibre is good – but don’t overdo it. Start with a high fibre cereal, whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, vegetables and fruit. But we are not cows and you don’t want to have surgery to unbung your bowels. Everything, as they say, in moderation…

David Coldrick is owner of Home Instead Senior Care Rotherham. Telephone 01709 837170 david.coldrick@homeinstead.co.uk