Aug 30, 2023

Maggie, Albo announce new food and nutrition initiative for aged care

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Chef Maggie Beer embracing at Eldercare’s Seaford facility. [Source: NCA NewsWire]

Key points:

  • The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety rightly appalled and shocked Australians when it highlighted some facilities were spending less than $6 a day on food
  • The Federal Government has committed $12.9 million to better food and nutrition in aged care and The Maggie Beer Foundation Aged Care Cook and Chef Support Program is part of that promise
  • The program is comprised of 11 module videos 20-40 minutes long and include information packs, recipes, and resource links with another six modules are soon to be added

Australian chef Maggie Beer and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese paired up for a visit at a South Australian aged care facility to launch their new collaborative food and nutrition aged care initiative. 

The pair were joined by Aged Care Minister Anika Wells, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth at Eldercare’s Seaford facility on Tuesday to spend time in the kitchen, have afternoon tea with residents and announce The Maggie Beer Foundation Aged Care Cook and Chef Support Program. 

The program is comprised of 11 free modules aimed to give cooks and chefs working at aged care facilities accessible training to improve the food and nutrition they are serving up to residents – making a direct impact on residents’ health and well-being. 

Successful completion of one or more modules gives you access to the Professional Community and participants receive a certificate of completion for each successful module.

Albo, Ms Beer, Ms Rishworth and Eldercare Seaford’s Chef Manager Arno Egle helping service afternoon tea. [Source: Eldercare]

At the launch, Ms Beer praised those working in the aged care food space which she described as highly “specialised” work.

“People are working so hard and I do not come across anyone who doesn‘t want to change but to be able to change we need this education […] We need these skills that are very particular to those cooking five meals a day, three meals and two snacks a day, that have to be full of protein, full of goodness.”

Ms Wells with Albo, Ms Beer and Eldercare Seaford residents at afternoon tea. [Source: Eldercare]

“It’s the fresh quality, local produce that I know Eldercare focuses on when they bring those food and nutrition [ideas] to their preparation here at Seaford.”

Mr Albanese referred to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s recommendations about food and nutrition quality improvement and that this program will play a part in the Australian Government’s response to the findings.

“We needed to do much better, and we are doing much better […] This program is an important component because what this shows is respect for our older Australians, our Australians who built this country,” he said. 

It’s a big week for food in aged care and Ms Beer who announced the filming of her new ABC television show Maggie Beer’s Big Mission. The show will follow Ms Beer’s quest to overhaul a Perth aged care home by transforming its meals, the dining experience and the dining room surroundings to improve the health of residents.

The first eleven online modules of The Maggie Beer Foundation Aged Care Cook and Chef Support Program are now available online at the Maggie Beer Foundation website but spots are limited so register your interest as soon as possible. 

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  1. What a great area to concentrate on and improve. I have seen some lovely meals but have seen a few that I was actually embarrassed to give out. Presentation plays a big part and the time between cooking the food and actually getting it on the table are areas that will benefit from a little assistance. When cooking the food, there are temps etc that have to be kept and this can dry out some foods before it actually reaches the residents. Some nice plates for serving also. Ever seen a soft stew served on a flat plate by itself… not pretty. Hope this area goes well!

  2. I have advocated for the need for change in the quality of food being served in aged care facilities since 2006. The one thing residents have to look forward to in their day is their meals. But I constantly got knock backs no matter how high I tried to take it. They were talking about $6 per day per resident 17 years ago and I’m horrified to read they are still using the same figure of $6 per day per resident! I can only hope this initiative will be taken up by aged care cooks and that the owners of aged care facilities support these opportunities.

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