Elevating Nutrition Standards for Seniors: A Glimpse into Respect’s Approach
Alcheringa, Hudson House, National Nutrition Week, Tongala Memorial |
National Nutrition Week takes place each year in October and encourages Australians to learn more about making healthy food and lifestyle choices to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
At Respect we recognise the vital role nutrition plays in providing a safe and healthy environment for our residents.
Recent research has further emphasised the ongoing risk that malnutrition poses for older Australians, particularly those living with dementia in long-term care. It has become an important area of national focus too, with the Federal Government earlier this year committing $12.9 million dollars to helping improve nutrition in aged care settings.
As we age, our nutritional needs undergo subtle but significant changes. Our metabolism slows down, and our bodies require different nutrients to support various physiological changes. Adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fibre becomes crucial to maintain optimal health, manage chronic conditions, and support the immune system.
The importance of a balanced and wholesome diet becomes even more important, with dietary choices having a profound impact on overall health.
Recognising this, across Respect we continue to take strides in enhancing the nutritional quality of food within our aged care homes.
Central to our commitment is the presence of dedicated, well-trained chefs and cooks who are passionate about delivering not just meals, but enjoyable culinary experiences that contribute to a high standard of living.
Quality is our mantra, and to ensure we stay true to it, we conduct regular internal audits of our menus and services. This process guarantees that our residents receive the best in terms of nutrition, taste, and variety. But it is not just about meeting basic dietary requirements; we strive to exceed expectations.
Trudy Roy, Catering Supervisor at Tongala Memorial in Victoria, stresses the important role food plays in “residents’ health and happiness”.
“Our aim is to provide delicious, nutritionally balanced meals and snacks for our residents,” she says. “Our menus are designed in conjunction with our accredited dieticians to ensure we incorporate a large variety of proteins and fresh produce. This includes fruit platters every day for morning tea and various fresh vegetables with each hot meal, providing a wide range of nutrients and flavours.”
Niki Stadlmann is the Head Chef at Hudson House in Cooma, New South Wales, and he points to food’s ability to brighten one’s day and even rekindle fond memories.
“I have found the best way to engage with food is through the eyes. I believe that presentation is crucial on creating a memorable dining experience,” he says. “When you first see a well-presented plate put in front of you, generally your thoughts are, ‘Wow look at the effort put into this, I can’t wait to dig in!’
“With such diversity in our communities, it’s a welcomed change to be able to really stick to those classic dishes that bring back memories from younger days. A classic beef stroganoff or pasta bolognaise served with a fresh salad is the comfort food we all crave. These are key points that we all are striving to achieve, a healthy yet humble dining experience.”
Catherine Isma – Chef Supervisor at Alcheringa in Swan Hill, Victoria – says her home’s dedicated catering staff all have some creative input into meals, and together, they thoroughly enjoy the process of serving residents and using the opportunity to build rapport.
“All our dedicated catering staff have creative input into the dishes in some way. From the placement of mayo on the salads, to dishing out desserts and adding garnishes such as cream and strawberries or chocolate, right down to the modified morning and afternoon teas,” she says.
“Every person that comes to live with us here at Alcheringa has a different level of dietary requirements and preferences. We will go above and beyond to accommodate that. Catering is very hands on, and we get to know the residents personally, therefore making it easier to remember and accommodate their needs.”
Across Respect, we are proud to continue to offer a high level of service, where culinary quality meets nutritional expertise. With dedicated chefs and cooks, a commitment to freshness, a wide variety of options, and a menu that honours cultural diversity, we are committed to redefining what it means to dine in an aged care home.