Commonly, when we read the word diet, we immediately think about weight-loss regimens that will remove every single food that your inner child loves. Evidently, ‘diet’ has been used in marketing strategies and exercise videos, but the word diet has a quintessential meaning to it. Diet means to the food and drink intake of a person. In terms of nutrition, a “healthy diet” or “balanced diet” is when people intake nutritious foods into the body.

However, for the ageing community, a healthy diet is vital in the process of growing old. ABC News said there are ongoing concerns in aged care facilities in the country, reporting widespread cases of malnutrition. To tackle this issue, Australia will undergo a new health education program that will allow for the ageing community to go into aged care facilities on a later date as long as they are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The new program is called ‘Cooking for One or Two’ and it’s reported that the program’s purpose is to teach Australians dietary and cooking lessons in order to battle malnutrition. Cooking for One or Two is a program targeted to the ageing community who are living alone or with someone. Charity Benevolent Society runs the program, while the New South Wales Government is funding the initiative. The program will last for five weeks and will involve cooking and diet experts to teach the ageing community to learn how to shop and cook for one or two people. Classes are said to run until February 2019 within the country.

According to National Seniors Australia, recent government data reveal Aussies are among the people who are expecting the highest life expectancies. In spite of the high life expectancy, there are around at least a quarter of Australians within the ageing community who live alone, while almost three-quarters are prone to malnutrition. As for those who live within aged care facilities, a 2009 study published in the Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia revealed 50 per cent of residents were affected by malnutrition.

Nutrition is essential for the ageing community. Dietitian Jamil Tuazon, who is assigned to teach the ageing community about a healthy diet, said the threat of malnutrition should be recognised. Ms Tuazon said via ABC News: “[The elderly] are at a higher risk for a lot of chronic diseases as they age, which is part of the natural progression of ageing.”

“A lot of them are on a lot of different medications, and a lot of [the medications] do affect the appetite or even the absorption of nutrients as well, therefore placing them at risk of malnutrition,” she said through ABC News.

Regarding the statistics, Ms Tuazon said the program is beneficial for the ageing community. She said on National Seniors Australia: “It will equip participants with practical knowledge to benefit their health as well as budget, and the program is designed to be as much fun as it is educational. Participants will pick up tips in basic cooking and nutrition for healthy ageing.”

Aside from teaching the ageing community about shopping and cooking, the program will also impart knowledge regarding independent living. Chef Ann-Marie Jeffares, the one who is responsible for coordinating cooking lessons, said having control of self-care is crucial for older Australians to delay their entries in aged care facilities. Ms Jeffares emphasised the urgency in prioritising self-care since it will help older Australians secure long-term health benefits.

In Australia, there were already 3.8 million Australians in 2017 who were within the senior age category or ages 65 and up, which is a huge jump from 319,000 in 1927 and 1.3 million 1977. Meanwhile, the ageing population is expected to grow, expecting to reach 8.7 million by 2056, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data revealed.

Taking care of our growing loved ones need patience, knowledge, and the understanding of their situation. Within the process, there are a wide range of struggles since a number of older Australians think independently. With this, the ‘Cooking for One or Two’ program is perfect for it helps them grasp the concept of independence, while teaching them to become one.

Aside from learning programs, people who are looking to get a career in aged care can take aged care courses from MCIE to equip them with the necessary skills and experiences to help understand aged care and start a career out of it.

For enquiries, contact MCIE today: Call: 1300 737 004 from Monday to Friday at 9:00 am to 5:00 pm or Email: email or visit the Contact Us Page:

Melbourne City Institute of Education (MCIE) is a vibrant and innovative registered training organisation, which offers a range of courses in Melbourne to help students to fulfil their career goals.

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