One of life’s great pleasures is food and that remains true as we get older and enter aged care.
Villa Maria Catholic Homes’ (VMCH) hospitality residential and retirement services manager, Wayne Wallis, says food plays an important role in a person’s health and happiness in aged care.
He is leading VMCH’s adoption of the Montessori practise to food services in VMHC’s aged care dining rooms, including Star of the Sea, at Torquay.
Montessori is traditionally associated with early childhood education. In aged care, it aims to empower individuals to be as independent as possible; to have a meaningful place in their aged care community and have more choices.
“Montessori is really about building on residents’ strengths. Look at what they are capable of doing and ensuring that they are able to do it for as long as possible,” Wayne says.
The Montessori model moves away from the traditional aged care dining room and to a buffet-style. The advantages of the buffet include residents having more choice in the foods they want to eat and the size of their meal.
Another important component of the Montessori model is empowering individuals to remain independent. People who have been preparing meals for themselves and their families for decades often go into aged care and their skills and enjoyment of this task can be overlooked.
The Montessori model encourages residents to get involved in mealtime.
“Chopping up vegetables, helping fold napkins, set tables and help others are all things that residents enjoy being part of,“ Wayne says.