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Celebrating with food

The importance of food can’t be overstated. Along with the obvious nutritional benefits for physical health, food plays an important role in our mental wellbeing.

Celebrating the holiday season 

In many cultures, food is central to identity and celebration. Understanding how a resident’s religious and cultural beliefs influence their food and dining preferences is important to supporting their overall wellbeing and quality of life.

Supporting holiday food traditions and offering ways to take part in celebrations is vital. 

Key things to consider: 

  • Who celebrates the holiday season and who doesn’t? 
  • How do people celebrate? What are their traditions? 
  • How is food included? 
  • Have you thought about the dining experience? 
  • How can you include residents in planning and preparation? Have you asked for thoughts and ideas, feedback on previous celebrations or included residents in menu planning? 

What about those who don’t celebrate in December? 

It’s important to remember that not all Australians celebrate Christmas. Recognising and catering to people from culturally diverse backgrounds and with different religious beliefs supports quality of life for all residents.

Key things to consider: 

  • What are the religious and cultural food preferences of each resident? Remember not to make assumptions about a resident’s likes and preferences. 
  • For those who don’t celebrate in December, would they still like to be included? 
  • If they don’t want to be included, what other options will be available to them (like alternative food choices and dining location)? 
  • What other cultural and religious dates and holidays are important throughout the year? How is food included? Which residents celebrate these days? 
  • How can you include these celebrations into your activities and food service? 

A useful tool to assist staff in exploring and recording residents’ food and dining preferences is our ‘My food and dining preferences’ fact sheet.

Respecting cultural requirements and ensuring these needs are addressed is part of both the Aged Care Quality Standards and Charter of Rights.

We have resources to support providers and their staff in providing an enjoyable and nutritious dining experience for the older people in their care.

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