Food Focus Helping Residents Eat, Drink and be Healthy
Dean may not have a medical background but he takes immense pride in the role he plays in ensuring our residents stay as healthy as possible. “Food is such a vital part of keeping residents well.” the head chef said. “The better and more nutritional the food we serve, the less they need some medicines. That’s where the phrase ‘food is medicine’ comes from.” That concept — food as medicine — is not new, with Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, said to have coined the term almost 2,500 years ago. The Greek physician believed eating wholesome food was the basis for good health and this ethos remains alive at CraigCare aged care facilities.
Dean’s passion for food runs over many decades. He admits his favourite cookbook is the Country Women’s Association. “This was the first cookbook I pinched from my mother in the early 80s and something that I’ve hung onto and still refer to every now and again.” His library of cookbooks runs into the hundreds and one of this favourites to use in his CraigCare kitchen is Maggie Beer’s Food for Life – her recipes are regulars on our menus.
Dean also loves to use the recipes from Don’t Give Me Eggs That Bounce – a cookbook specifically designed to cater to Alzheimer and dementia dietary needs. This book shares amazingly scrumptious recipes including Duck Sausages with Braised Lentils, Ricotta Hotcakes and Chocolate Semolina Fudge.
Another must mention recipe book Dean takes inspiration from is It’s All About the Food Not the Fork! – recipes dedicated to finger foods, snacks and other meals that can be enjoyed without cutlery. Why would a lack of need to eat with cutlery be important you might ask? Imagine if you are not comfortable with or you lose the ability to use cutlery, you can’t face a large meal, you have reduced appetite or trouble with chewing or swallowing. People with Alzheimer’s, dementia and those with eating difficulties should not have to put up with food that is offered without any joy or love. “Using recipe books like this means even people facing major eating difficulties have a tasty range of food and drink that they can enjoy,” says Dean.
Recipes from these books and many others that Dean and his catering team use across our aged care facilities means that we can truly celebrate the dignity of the elderly.
“Using these recipes helps makes a way of difference, a way of change in the food and dining experience in aged care facilities.”