As we all know, food provides a vital source of nourishment and sustenance. For many people though, food has a much bigger, more personal role in their lives – it creates and preserves a sense of identity with significant connections to culture and family.
While 20% of people aged over 65 were born outside Australia, it is estimated that this will increase to over 30% by 2021. This makes it even more important for residential aged care facilities to have systems in place to accommodate for residents of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and their dietary needs or preferences.
Leading Nutrition suggests taking the following steps to assist with accommodating for CALD residents:
- Identify your residents’ CALD group, and discuss their religious and cultural dietary requirements and preferences on admission. Engage with the resident’s family to gauge more information.
- Your food service team will be able to assist in identifying appropriate CALD main meals, sides, desserts, and snacks; as well as determine what will be feasible to implement, how to incorporate a CALD menu without negatively impacting on the oral intake of other residents, and how often they should be incorporated.
- Ask residents or family members to provide recipes and meal ideas
- Think about culturally appropriate dining environments and equipment such as condiments and eating utensils
- Develop culturally specific activities with your lifestyle team, which may include theme days around a particular country or religion and serving culturally specific food
- Implement and evaluate ideas; test recipes and get feedback from residents. Monitor resident nutritional markers (e.g. weight) and make additional menu changes as necessary. Seek support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian to review CALD meals for nutritional adequacy.
Unsure how to cater for residents of CALD backgrounds? With an in-house Accredited Practicing Dietitian, we can further discuss how we can partner with you to ensure you meet the dietary and nutritional needs of CALD residents in your care. Don’t hesitate to contact Jonathan Storer today on 0424 175 949 or David O’Brien on 0424 190 566.