A South Australian aged care provider is opening up the conversation about food and dementia, by bringing together aged care food expert Maggie Beer AO and American dementia education expert Teepa Snow for a one day workshop in Adelaide next week.
Presented by Rembrandt Living and aimed at anyone with an interest in aged care, Time 4 Tea promises to be an educational, inspirational and interactive, full-day conference on dementia care with a food focus featuring two industry icons.
“We had existing connections with both Maggie Beer and Teepa Snow and we had this idea to get them in the one room talking about dementia with a food focus,” Rembrandt Living Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Deb Dutton explained when asked how the event came about.
“Think big, that’s what we do at Rembrandt.”
Teepa Snow is an expert in dementia education with decades of experience, who started a movement called the ‘Positive Approach to Care’ after she realised that what people were doing with people with dementia was quite a negative approach.
“A Positive Approach to Care is basically a way of helping people with dementia but rather than looking at what they don’t have, looking at what they have,” Ms Dutton explained.
“So it’s quite the opposite to traditional dementia care teaching. Over the years she has created an empire across the world to be trained on ‘The Snow Approach’.”
Maggie Beer AO has been involved with food and aged care since being named Australian of the Year in 2010, which instigated the establishment of The Maggie Beer Foundation.
She believes everyone should have access to not only the nutrition but also the wellbeing that comes from having a lovely meal and feels strongly about educating anyone involved in aged care on its importance.
“It’s education, skill, sharing the knowledge, raising the bar of a cook or chef and raising the budget too,” Ms Beer said.
“Everyone in the home has to be involved in the change. It’s from the bottom up; the cook, management, the carers, the nurses.
From a food point of view there can be challenges for people with dementia and limitations to what they can eat, for example when there’s dysphasia when someone has trouble swallowing.
Ms Beer said “having beautiful food that is texture modified for those that have difficulty swallowing is really really vital”.
“We need as much love to go into that food so it’s vibrant and full of pleasure as well.”
Time 4 Tea is held on Tuesday 28 February in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel in Adelaide. Ms Dutton explained the event is directed at two different groups of people.
“It’s for all people working in aged care. Not just at chef or care worker level but also at a management and board level. The day will be dedicated to those people to really get inspired, get positive and learn skills.
“But it’s also for people with an interest in dementia and aged care. Those who are not professional carers, but people looking after a loved one at home.
“So if you’re looking after a loved one living with dementia and you’re struggling, this is an opportunity to come and learn a bit more about food and dementia, network with people juggling the same things you are and learn some skills.
“It will be a very interactive day and it will be fantastic.”