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Why a culturally competent residential Aged Care Home is essential

Residents from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds often require an Aged Care home that is strongly considerate of their spiritual, dietary, and linguistic needs. This optimises their comfort, communication, and overall quality of care. Afterall, culture represents one’s identity and way of life, inclusive to beliefs, religion, art, tradition/rituals, and values.

In Australia, 29.9% of the population (In 2021) were born overseas, with 37% of adults 65+ years from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD) backgrounds. These percentages are suspected to arise in the future.

Ethno-specific residential aged care homes have suspected to provide greater “identify”, “purpose and meaning” and improvement to quality of life by attending to their emotional wellbeing and social connections. A study conducted trialing the impact of “The little things” training with personal care assistants (PCA) staff with CALD backgrounds improved their ability to communicate by 84% and enhancing resident’s well-being.

Why is it important to include cultural preferences and diversity in Aged Care?

Providing cultural preferences in-line with one’s native language and culture is important of independence, emotional well-being, and movement. A study shown that not Asian populations including an exercise was important to them culturally and adding this as an activity was loved at the facility. Additionally, catering for spiritual events, such as, Christmas, Easter, and available food during periods of fasting (Fish on Fridays) also providing a sense of belonging. Also ensuring the Aged Care Home provide specific dietary requirements due to religion/culture/ethics such as, Kosher, Halal vegetarian, vegan, to ensure optimal nutritional care and prevent malnutrition.

How do Dietitians include Cultural Preferences?

Culturally diverse foods include the safe and nutritious food the meet the diverse taste and needs for resident based on their cultural identity. However, it is important to note that one person does not represent their entire culture. Therefore, developing a plan and considering one’s dietary needs need to be assessed and considering:

  • Types of food embraced by their culture (spicy, salty, acidic, bitter etc.)

  • Tradition and culture habits related to food (Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Diwali, Hajj, Ramadan, Pass Over, Chinese New Year etc.)

  • Dietary needs to prevent and support a resident’s health (texture modifications, fluid restriction, nutrient specific modifications etc.)

  • Eating patterns (size of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and supper)

  • Eating utensils (i.e., knife and fork, chop sticks, spoons, hands etc.)

Aged Care homes have extra funding for this very reason

An extra $10 per day for each resident is being provided to enhance food and nutrition. This additional money can be contributed towards enhancing resident choice regarding food, offering more culturally diverse foods. Also including, organised onsite menu and mealtime assessments to support a culturally diverse, yet nutritious menu. It is recommended to be completed twice per year, but at a minimum yearly.

Top tips in enhancing your Aged Care home menu

Ensuring that the food being provided to the elderly population is tasty, nutritious and achievable is critical. Therefore, by developing the flowing, can be a great start.

  • Engaging all the senses of Taste, Appearance, Texture, and Aroma

  • Being creative in the menu with rotations and seasonal produce

  • Providing ethnic and culturally appropriate foods tailored to the residents within your Aged Care home

  • Planning for ideal mealtime environment and dining experiences

  • Including all 5 food groups in the menu

  • Understand residents’ background and culture

  • Focus on residents’ favourite cultural foods

  • Include cultural ingredients and recipes

All these aspects, contribute to our food experience and have impacting to our physical, mental and emtional health.

OSCAR Care Group has a huge focus on cultural diversity, which is represented by our culturally diverse Dietetic team (Meet our team here) Therefore, to maximise your Aged Care home’s menu, book a menu assessment by emailing dietitian@oscarcaregroup.com.au to make achievable enhancements that are nutritious.

Because our residents deserve the best!


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