Gijs Bonefaas is over 70 as Prime Minister Rutte likes to see them. Healthy, athletic, active as a volunteer in Tafeltje Dekje, kind-hearted and surrounded by a beautiful family. But this Gijs Bonefaas from ‘s-Heer Arendskerke is not the same man as the one from March of last year.
Nine kilos less
He was on a ventilator for 11 days in the intensive care (IC) unit. The Covid-19 had seized him and almost took him away. But he woke up. Extremely weak and nine pounds lighter. “My son had to get me out of the hospital wheelchair, in the car, and out of the car to go to rehab.”
He had become malnourished following his admission to the intensive care unit. During the rehabilitation process, he met the dietician Ilse van den Hoek from the Allévo care organization in Goes. She recommended a high protein diet.
Biscuit and sausage filled
With a boyish smile on his face, “Suddenly I was treated to a stuffed cake, some extra sausages.” Anything you don’t normally like. Mr. Bonefaas is not alone. Virtually all dieticians in Zealand are seeing an increase in the number of undernourished people.
In Allévo, there were 263 Zealands in 2019, 299 last year, an increase of 14%. With a high protein diet and physiotherapy, people are expected to gain weight, Van den Hoek explains: “Too few calories are bad for your stamina and bad for your health.
Only food in the room
His colleague Froukje Koedijk from Vlissingen also notes an increase in the number of malnourished clients in his Zorgstroom practice. But not as a former ic patient. “I especially see the elderly who found themselves alone during confinement, no longer saw other people. Who had to eat alone in their room and therefore sometimes wasted, began to eat less and less well.”
The length of the rehabilitation process varies from person to person. The healthier and fitter they were before, the sooner they will be back on top. Gijs Bonefaas has regained his former weight and feels fit again. He loved the moment he got on his bike with his physiotherapist. “The independence, the freedom that one feels then is pleasant, very pleasant.”
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