Victorian aged care provider Villa Maria Catholic Homes is rolling out a new model of food delivery across its residential aged care facilities that encourages more independence and engagement among residents at meal times.
The new approach follows the Montessori model, which is based on self-directed activity, hands on learning and collaboration.
In aged care, the approach aims to empower individuals to become more independent and have a meaningful place in their community, as well as provider them more choice.
Villa Maria Catholic Home facilities are using the approach in dining rooms by changing how food is presented including moving away from a traditional dining room to offering a buffet-style experience.
Villa Maria Catholic Homes hospitality residential and retirement services manager Wayne Wallis said the approach better involves residents with their care.
“Montessori is about building on residents’ strengths by looking at what they are capable of doing and ensuring that they are able to do it for as long as possible,” Mr Wallis said.
Among the benefits of the Montessori approach to food services is that residents can choose the food and the portion size they want, he said.
The Montessori model also encourages residents to get involved in their meals by allowing them to set tables, fold napkins and cutting vegetables.
“Essentially it is about residents feeling like they are part of a community and that they can contribute to that community. In the process, they are maintaining skills, staying socially active and feeling engaged,” Wallis said.
Food is an important part of happiness to a person’s health and wellbeing in residential aged care, he said.
Implementation of the Montessori model is underway at all 12 of Villa Maria Catholic Homes residential aged care facilities.
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