Food for thought: good nutrition at every life stage

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By: Aveo Executive Chef and National Food Services Manager, John Casey

Having just wrapped up the Aveo Health and Wellness Expo at Aveo Kings Park, South Australia last week alongside fellow chef Maggie Beer, my passion to educate and inspire senior Australians to eat and live well is stronger than ever.

According to the Dietitians Association of Australia ([1]), a staggering 30 to 40 per cent of older Australians living in Australia are either experiencing or at risk of malnutrition; a figure that I think is unacceptable.

Good nutrition is one of the pillars of healthy ageing, along with physical activity and socialisation. Older people, particularly those with smaller appetites, run the risk of simply not getting the nutrition they need. In the absence of formal nutritional guidelines for retirees, Aveo recently partnered with Nutrition Professionals Australia (NPA) as the country’s first retirement village network to proactively introduce a national nutritional standard across all of our restaurant and catering services.

I believe that fresh, quality food can enhance people’s lives and overall wellbeing, and it’s my mission to rid the retirement industry of outdated ‘pureed food’ stereotypes. I have had a long career in the food industry and feel strongly that the integrity and standard of food quality should be the same regardless of whether it’s a fine dining restaurant or a retirement village.

Transitioning to a retirement village can be a big adjustment, but for many, food can bring a sense of familiarity to residents and can make their transition easier. For this reason, we want our residents to have confidence that the food provided in Aveo villages is nourishing and sourced sustainably from the freshest produce available.

While providing nutritionally balanced and nourishing food is of upmost importance, it’s also important for older people to enjoy their meal times – fostering a social approach to food through our village communities is one way we achieve that.

We’ve also been working very hard behind the scenes to launch an industry-first meal delivery service, Nutrition Select, a fresh cooked-to-order food delivery service available to residents across the country. Nutrition Select addresses a vital gap in the market, by delivering meals specifically cooked to meet the nutrition requirements for those aged over 65 years.

It was a pleasure to share the stage with Maggie Beer at the Aveo Health and Wellness Expo at Aveo Kings Park last week for a nutrition education session and cooking demonstration with residents and members of the local community. The Maggie Beer Foundation is committed to giving elderly people access to food full of flavour and nutrients, and I commend Maggie on all of her efforts in this space. We share in her commitment of educating Aveo residents and the wider senior population on the importance of good nutrition, and hopefully, we can start to turn the alarming statistics around on elderly malnutrition.

For more information about seniors’ nutrition visit: 

About John Casey:

John Casey’s expansive career in the food industry spans more than three decades. From leading fine-dining restaurants to working with elite athletes including Kathy Freeman on the development of tailored food plans, John has dedicated his career to mastering food techniques with consideration to good nutrition. In 2014, John was appointed National Food Services Manager for Aveo where he oversees all aspects of the quality food service for 89 retirement communities in Australia.

[1] *Rist G, Miles G, Karimi L. The presence of malnutrition in community-living older adults receiving home nursing services. Nutr Diet 2012; 69:46-50

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