Home | Aged Care Royal Commission | Federal Government unveils new program for food and nutrition
Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese (right), at Eldercare Seaford with Chef manager Arno Egle (left), chef Maggie Beer (second to the left) and the Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells (second to the right), to reveal the new food and nutrition program. Picture: NCA NewsWire

Federal Government unveils new program for food and nutrition

Australian chef Maggie Beer and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese have teamed up to introduce an innovative program focused on food and nutrition within the aged-care sector.

Backed by the Federal Government’s $12.9 million funding to improve food and nutrition in aged care, an investment of $5 million to the Maggie Beer Foundation has been delivered as a free program called Improving Food in Aged Care through Education and Training.

The pair was joined by Aged Care Minister Anika Wells and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth at Eldercare’s South Australian facility.

“Food, nutrition, and the dining experience significantly impact a person’s quality of life, and that’s why we have partnered with the Maggie Beer Foundation to deliver this training,” Ms Wells said.

“This is part of our approach to help providers and workers upskill and be better educated so they can prepare and serve more delicious and nutritious food to the older people in their care.”

“The free Improving Food in Aged Care through Education and Training program is an important step forward in ensuring all older people in residential aged care have access to nourishing food that they enjoy and improves their well-being.”

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety indicated that approximately 68% of residents in Australia’s aged-care facilities were susceptible to malnutrition or were already experiencing malnutrition.

Testimonies presented during the Commission’s investigation revealed subpar food quality in many facilities, with improperly cooked meals that lacked variety and fresh ingredients.

The Commission also highlighted that some aged care facilities spent less than $6 daily on food.

The program consists of 11 free modules giving cooks and chefs accessible training to improve food and nutrition.

Successful completion of one or more modules gives chefs and cooks access to the Professional Community, with participants receiving a certificate of completion for each successful module.

Ms Beer said she was thrilled to work with aged-care facilities to help improve the quality of life for residents.

“The Maggie Beer Foundation is thrilled to partner with the Department of Health and Aged Care to provide opportunities for every chef and cook working in residential aged care to improve food, nutrition, and dining experiences for older people,” Ms Beer said.

“Food is nutrition not just for the body, but also for the soul – it’s what fires our appetite for life.”

Ms Beer also announced the filming of her new ABC television show, Maggie Beer’s Big Mission.

The show will follow Ms Beer’s journey as she aims to revamp an aged-care facility in Perth by enhancing the well-being of the residents through improvements to the meals, dining ambience, and overall environment.

“What a privilege it is to work with a home that is brave enough to show warts and all, and the path of continuous improvement necessary to bring about real change.”

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