Hidden Hero 2020

03 February 2021

Erika Burany – Unilever

Erika works in Unilever’s Away From Home Team (Unilever Food Solutions), looking after the elderly care sector. The sector is one of Unilever’s biggest priorities, and Erika has led her team in placing wellbeing at the centre of their outreach, for both residents and chefs, acknowledging the power of food on mental and physical health.

Seeing the immense strain Covid-19 has placed care homes under, Erika wanted to find a way to help with the new challenges they faced. Based on discussions with her care home customers and partners, Erika knew the biggest area of concern for residents (outside of catching the virus) is loneliness, isolation and generally feeling down and in unease.

In response, Erika led the creation of several free resources and activity kits to support the physical and mental wellbeing of residents during Covid-19. These included ‘Hydration Kits’ with posters and activity sheets to encourage residents to stay better hydrated, and recipe books for kitchens to create nutritional and uplifting meals. She also created resources specifically for mental wellbeing. These included a guide to video calling so residents could stay digitally connected with friends and family, and a collection of old Unilever adverts which could be printed to help spark memories and encourage conversation between residents.

These free resources were sent directly to over 2,200 care homes across the UK & Ireland and have been made freely available to download on the Unilever Food Solution website. Unilever is now using these resources to support care homes in other countries too.