Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2013 Contents If residential aged care facilities aren't taking what is on the
menu seriously, they probably should. Because these days
any old nosh definitely will not do. And that sentiment is only
going to get stronger as baby boomers begin to enter care.
Natalie Day, dietitian and catering services manager
with New South Wales residential aged care provider Catholic
Healthcare, says food is one of the most important components to
consider for residents' health and happiness.
"Because of their age, the focus on food is big. When they enter,
they have their medication and they have their food. Food is one of
the biggest things we need to satisfy them with," Day says.
In addition to being the dietitian looking after the organisation's
40-odd facilities, Day is also a chef who designs the menus and
writes the recipes for all the provider's chefs to use. "I'm a big
flavour person. I make sure that everything tastes right," she says.
Diana FitzGerald, general manager of training at Leading Age
Services Australia Victoria, agrees on the importance of a variety
of nutritious and tasty food in residential care, the demand for
which she says will only become stronger.
"As we head down the road in aged care to being increasingly
customer-focused, baby boomers will be putting much more
emphasis on food choices. How organisations provide those services
is likely to become as important as care services," FitzGerald says.
Baby boomers want to experience good food and have all their
food needs taken care of in aged care, she says. And to address the
trend toward increased choice, variety and member demand, LASA
Victoria recently ran its second 'In the kitchen in aged care' seminar
involving a discussion and collaboration on food and nutrition.
A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
However, this interest in food hasn't always been so strong, says
Anthony Lahood, managing director of Lahood and Son, which
specialises in supplying fresh meat and produce to kitchens in
Sydney and surrounding regions including five-star hotels, big
clubs and aged care facilities.
"We've been involved in aged care for over twenty years. We
went through the cycle where there were quite a few facilities
that weren't producing the quality of food that residents would
have expected. So when regulation came in and the facilities
were audited for quality of food and how it is serviced, we saw a
revolution," he says.
The result is a more professional food service in residential
aged care, Lahood says, and one that is more likely to involve
people who have come from a restaurant background.
"Fifteen years ago, facilities would buy frankfurts, devon
and cheap foods. These days that is not accepted. It is just not
tolerated. People are buying more premium quality mince. They
buy quality diced beef. The amount of fat is considered. It is
important nowadays that it is lean," Lahood says.
"There is a variety of proteins, greens, and starches. There
is more of a focus on quality and variety." Doubling up on meals
doesn't happen nowadays and set menus are a thing of the past,
he says. Instead, meals are planned four weeks ahead and menus
change three or four times a year.
"It has gone back to traditional home-style cooking in the last
four or five years, and that's what older people want," Lahood says.
Shopping lists are different these days as a result, he says.
At the top end of town, they might include fillet steak and
blueberries. But overall kitchens are buying a broad range
of fresh produce and there is much more interest in Asian
vegetables such as bok choy these days. "People are becoming
more aware of different products they can use and thinking
outside the box."
If you are looking for the next big thing being used in
professional kitchens, it is black garlic, Lahood says. The
fermented ripe garlic tastes great, without the garlic breath,
To maximise value Lahood saysit is important to get accurate
advice from your supplier about the current state of the market,
which is affected by the quality of the season. "My key message is
There's a revolution occurring
across the kitchens and dining
rooms of Australia as we not only
embrace new cuisines, ingredients
and cooking methods, but make
food and its rituals a centre piece
of a good life. The implications for
aged care providers might seem
challenging as baby boomers hove
into view but it's a challenge many
providers are already enjoying,
writes Natasha Egan.
Jemalong Residential Village, Forbes: Food
is important to ensuring residents' health
and happiness for Catholic Healthcare.
56 | JULY -- AUGUST 2013 | AAA
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